The Novel That Writes Itself

Allen Ruppersberg

Exhibition: Oct 5 – Dec 31, 2000

At ArtPace, Ruppersberg presents an installation of two bodies of work. The Novel That Writes Itself is an ongoing project consisting of screen printed posters. Brightly colored with a fluorescent palette, the posters are graphic with bold typography. They recall the type of street posters one might find stapled to telephone poles advertising garage bands, warehouse sales, or circus acts. Yet here, the messages are written by the artist and include such enigmatic slogans as “Who’s Afraid of the New Now?,” “What Should I Do?,” and “When Things Cease.” Ruppersberg covers the gallery walls in a grid of these posters forming a choppy and provocative narrative.

Hanging directly on top of the posters, Ruppersberg also presents a new group of drawings from his series Honey, I rearranged the collection. Each work begins with a silk-screened image of a well-appointed living room. The artist has altered each print by drawing, painting and collaging over this interior view and has given each piece a unique title. The titles, casually scripted along one edge of the drawing, read like cartoon captions. Each begins with the phrase “Honey, I rearranged the collection …” and ends with a quirky explanation: “…to show everyone I was right about everything. Everytime;” “…according to two categories: Nice and Not Nice;” “…to try and explain ourselves to our fellow collectors”.

With a sharp sense of humor, Ruppersberg questions the public’s relationship to fine art. Issues of authenticity and authorship are thrown to the wind with his seemingly endless reproductions of posters. In his drawings, collecting art is reduced to a bourgeois act of decorating. Ultimately, Ruppersberg makes storytelling the key element in his art. His modular installation and non-hierarchical arrangement of words and images allows viewers to shape their own narratives and build their own comedic poetry.


Allen Ruppersberg

New York, New York, USA

Allen Ruppersberg is an internationally-known conceptual artist whose humorous installations, sculptures and actions blend popular culture with art history and literary references.
Ruppersberg was born in 1944 in Cleveland, Ohio and received his B.F.A. from the Chouinard Institute in Los Angeles. Since the late 1960s, his work has been the subject of over sixty solo exhibitions and nearly 200 group shows. Career highlights include participation in the Whitney Biennials (1970, 1975, 1991), Documenta V (1972), Lyon Biennale (1997), and Sculpture Project Munster (1998). In 1985, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles organized a major exhibition of Ruppersberg’s work. Recent exhibitions include Frac Limousin, Limoges, France (1999); Institute of Visual Arts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1998); and Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (1997). Ruppersberg lives and works in New York, NY.

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