Allen Ruppersberg: 25 Ways to Start Over
9953 South Santa Monica Boulevard Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Saturday, March 16 at 5:00 PM 7:00 PM
Ends Apr 27, 2024
Marc Selwyn Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Allen Ruppersberg: 25 Ways to Start Over, curated by Christine Burgin, on view from March 16 – April 20, 2024. As a pioneer of West Coast conceptualism, Allen Ruppersberg is known for subverting the aesthetics of American mass media and vernacular language to create new narratives. Ruppersberg is celebrated for his thought-provoking oeuvre that blurs the boundaries between reality and popular culture, often engaging with themes of memory, retrospection and reinvention. His work takes numerous forms: posters, books, drawings, sculpture and wallpaper, among others. In this new body of work, Ruppersberg contemplates the necessary art of starting over and offers a few suggestions: # 1 Begin at the Beginning # 4 Clean Out the Studio # 10 Create an Archive/ Gather Fragments # 13 Count Backwards from 100 # 15 Do Some Graphic Design # 20 Do a Self-Portrait Begin at the Beginning and Do a Self-Portrait are the inspiration behind three large wall-hung puzzles created by Ruppersberg for this installation. Ruppersberg’s interest in puzzles began with Georges Perec and his book Life: a User’s Manual (1978), a novel whose main character devotes his life to the elaborate creation and destruction of jigsaw puzzles of his own making: “In isolation, a puzzle piece means nothing - just an impossible question, an opaque challenge. But as soon as you have succeeded, after minutes of trial and error… in fitting it into one of its neighbors, the piece disappears, ceases to exist as a piece.” Perec’s puzzle fascination might help to elucidate the work of Allen Ruppersberg who, since the early 70s, has been making art that in many ways functions as a puzzle, a collection of elements arranged to make up a meaningful whole. These new puzzles have the added element of specially cut pieces which draw on a vocabulary of the forms Ruppersberg has developed since the 70s: a self-portrait head, masks, 45 records, among others. These large scale wall puzzles are designed to be taken apart and reassembled, allowing the viewer, the “puzzler”, to take on Ruppersberg’s role as artist. Another of Ruppersberg’s suggestions for starting over is “Change Your Name” which in this show takes the form of a “Pseudonym Library.” Ruppersberg is known for his vast collections of ephemera, and one important category within his collection of pulp literature is books written under pseudonyms. Images of his pseudonym library are printed on pegboards which provide the backdrop for a “show-within-a-show” curated by Ruppersberg . This “show within a show” consists of repurposed earlier photos and drawings, including one of the first drawings he ever made. A book detailing the lives of each of the authors represented in this installation has been published by Christine Burgin to accompany the exhibition. Suggestion #14 “Embrace Nostalgia. Get out your old VHS Tapes” is represented by wallpaper printed with hundreds of images of VHS boxes salvaged by Ruppersberg from one of the once ever-present but now long-extinct video stores. The exhibition is accompanied by a poster designed by Lauren Mackler listing all the ways one might start over and a book published by Christine Burgin with an introduction by “Al Reed”* entitled The Pseudonym Library of Allen Ruppersberg. Allen Ruppersberg (b. 1944) graduated from Chouinard Institute, Los Angeles, in 1967. His first retrospective, The Secret of Life and Death, was shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 1985. An important large scale survery of his work One of Many – Origins and Variants, was shown at the Dusseldorf Kunsthalle, Germany (2005); the Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne, France (2007); the Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2006); and the Centro Adnaluz de Art Contemporaneo, Seville, Spain (2006). Allen Ruppersberg: No Time Left to Start Again and Again was on view in 2014 at Wiels Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels, following an appearance at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012-2013. Allen Ruppersberg: Intelletual Property 1968-2018 opened at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2018) and traveled to the Hammer Museum in 2019. Ruppersberg has been the subject of over 60 solo shows and included in numerous group shows such as Under the Big Black Sun at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles during the Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time: Art in Los Angeles 1945-1980. His work is in the collections of public institutions such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Berkeley Art Museum; Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, New York; Denver Art Museum; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum; Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among many others. *Al Reed is a pseudonym for Allen Ruppersberg.