About this exhibition
I'm basically a pulp artist. As popular culture grows and at times threatens to overwhelm everything, I think any artist is aware of his relationship to it. At the same time, I also believe art is not popular culture or entertainment. – Allen Ruppersberg
Allen Ruppersberg (born in 1944 in Cleveland, Ohio; lives and works in Santa Monica, California and Brooklyn, New York) is among the generation of American conceptual artists who changed the way art was thought about and made at the end of the 1960s. His multiform artistic work, which includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, performances and books, amongst other media, is inspired by the Beat Generation and anchored in a critical approach to the media and consumer society. Over the years, Ruppersberg, an avid collector, has accumulated an impressive quantity of books, posters, postcards, educational films, magazines, records and other documents or objects that bare witness to American popular culture. This archive serves as a regular resource for the artist, who tirelessly draws, copies, classifies and recycles elements in the making of his works.
At WIELS, Ruppersberg presents one of his more recent works, titled No Time Left To Start Again/The B and D of R 'n' R. It is a sweeping survey of American vernacular recorded music, from folk to rock, passing through gospel and blues. The monumental installation assembles various materials stemming from the archives of the artist, such as amateur snapshots, obituaries for deceased musicians and images of old records. A soundtrack composed of a hundred popular songs accompagnies the installation. The songs were taken from the artist's collection of over 4,000 78rpm records and are contained on 8 vinyl records specifically produced for the exhibition. In parallel with the installation, Ruppersberg presents a selection of his previous works that echoes certain notions important to The B and D of R 'n' R, such as memory, the transmission of knowledge and the relationship between art and popular culture.
Winner of several prestigious prizes (National Endowment for the Arts, 1982 and 1976 (1976 and 1982); Guggenheim Fellowship, 1997), Ruppersberg has participated in numerous international collective exhibitions, such as When Attitudes Become Form, Kunsthalle, Bern, 1969; dOCUMENTA V, 1972; Biennale de Lyon, 1996. Important solo exhibitions on him have been staged by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1985; the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 2005; and the Museum of Art, Santa Monica, 2009.
Curator: Devrim Bayar
In collaboration with The Art Institute of Chicago.