As a pioneer of West Coast conceptualism, Ruppersberg has mined the fields of American popular culture and mass media for over forty years, amassing a personal collection of newspaper clippings, photographs, posters, records, and other ephemera from previous eras. Approaching these findings as source material, Ruppersberg often uses these items as the conceptual starting point for his works, reinterpreting, rearranging, and reconstructing the originals in order to draw out new narratives that simultaneously reference and reanimate the visual language of the past.
For this exhibition, the artist debuts for the first time in New York CIRCLES: Allan Kaprow’s Words, 1962, By Allen Ruppersberg (2008), a reinterpretation of Allan Kaprow’s environment from 1962 at the Smolin Gallery. Coined by Kaprow in the ‘60s, the term “environment” was characterized as being participatory in nature, and aimed to provide viewers with multisensory experiences. Ruppersberg’s version, first exhibited at MOCA Los Angeles on the occasion of the exhibition Allan Kaprow – Art as Life, comprises a wall mural of color and black and white xerox copies of spoken word poetry records from Ruppersberg’s personal collection, along with typewriters and record players arranged on card tables in the main space.
CIRCLES insists on the central role of the viewer as an active participant: the typewriters are outfitted with motion detectors that signal the digital recordings of poetry, but only at the touch of a key. Visitors to the show are likewise invited to take away copies of the xeroxed pages stacked in silkscreen cardboard boxes—replicas of those wheat pasted on the wall.
Until December 20, 2014
508 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001