To The Extreme: The Vanilla Ice Museum, New York City, NY, USA

Robert Matthew Van Winkle was born October 31, 1967 and attended R.L. Turner High School in Dallas, Texas. Vanilla Ice, as he is known, was discovered in 1987 at the Dallas nightclub City Lights during a talent contest. In 1989, he released his debut album, Hooked. In 1990, Ice signed a contract with SBK Records, who reissued Hooked under the title To the Extreme. It sold 11 million copies and contained the single “Ice Ice Baby.” It was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts and spent 67 weeks at the #1 spot. Vanilla Ice’s second major release, Extremely Live, was called "one of the most ridiculous albums ever released" by Entertainment Weekly. Around the same time he received a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst New Star for his 1991 movie, Cool as Ice. Ice melted and attempted suicide by overdosing on heroin. Once revived, he decided it was time to change his lifestyle. As a symbol of his attempt to begin anew, he got a tattoo of a leaf on his stomach. Robert grew dreadlocks and joined a grunge band called Picking Scabs in 1995. In 1999, the music video for "Ice Ice Baby" was retired forever on the MTV special, 25 Lame. More recently, Van Winkle was arrested on April 10, 2008, in Palm Beach County on a battery charge for allegedly kicking and hitting his wife Laura. On February 27, 2009, he performed with MC Hammer in Orem, Utah and on March 28, 2009, Virgin Mobile's advertising campaign, Right Music Wrongs, put him on trial. 700,000 voters found Vanilla Ice innocent of crimes against music. 2010 is the twenty-year anniversary of the album, To the Extreme. Commemorating this anniversary, To The Extreme: The Vanilla Ice Museum is going public. Here is the story of Vanilla Ice told through the artifacts of popular culture.

Brent Birnbaum

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To see the collection in person email this: pearbomb [at]