New York City, NY
Released in April 1976, the Ramones’ self-titled debut album introduced the world to four unsmiling hoods in ripped jeans and leather jackets, and to the uncompromising attitude known as punk. Ramones’ minimalist tunes, slapstick lyrics, buzzsaw guitars, and blitzkrieg tempo became the wellspring for a genre of music and a strain of culture.
On this first album’s 40th anniversary, (…) the exhibition begins with the Ramones’ roots in Queens and reveal their ascendancy in both music and visual culture, demonstrating their remarkable influence on music, fashion, fine art, comics, and film. (…)
Welcoming visitors will be Punk Magazine co-founder John Holmstrom’s specially commissioned cartoon map tracing the band’s path from Forest Hills to the downtown nightclub CBGB. Rare artifacts such as a recently unearthed early press package and early flyers and lyrics, represent the musicians’ Queens up-bringings and their transformation from John Cummings, Jeffrey Hyman, Douglas Colvin, and Thomas Erdelyi into Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, and Tommy Ramone. Video monitors playing early Ramones shows, while vintage concert flyers and photographs by Bob Gruen and David Godlis place them within the larger downtown milieu that followed Andy Warhol’s work with the Velvet Underground.
Like Warhol, the Ramones used branding as an art form. Art director Arturo Vega turned his iconic eagle logo into a pioneering range of T-shirts and other merchandise, and the origins of that now ubiquitous band symbol are traced. Vega also encouraged Dee Dee Ramone’s idiosyncratic paintings, several of which are on view.
Credit: Exhibition Overview from the Queens Museum website
Also on view: album covers and out-takes; cartoon drawings by Sergio Aragones (Mad magazine) and John Holmstrom; original lyric manuscripts, and guitars and leather jackets; concert posters spans five continents and three decades; more than 150 snapshots, fliers, posters, t-shirts, tour itineraries, and memorabilia.