An American pioneer of Conceptual Art, Allen Ruppersberg began exhibiting in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, along with fellow artists John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, and William Leavitt. This was a generation of artists whose practice attempted to bridge the distance between art and life through artistic languages which employed everyday objects such as magazines, commercial ads, postcards, and records. Since the beginning, Ruppersberg’s work displays an affinity for the written word and printed materials, and explores consumer society and mass media in a manner that is both playful and critical.
For High Line Art, Ruppersberg presents You & Me, a collection of colorful posters never before shown in this configuration or scale. Similar posters have been featured in his work since the 1980s, and are typically seen on the streets of Los Angeles, where they promote neighborhood events such as wrestling matches, carnivals, and religious gatherings. Ruppersberg appropriates the distinctive background onto which he lays his peculiar form of spontaneous poetry. Arranged side by side on a grid to cover the entire surface of the 25-by-75-foot billboard, the posters display the many combinations of the words “you” and “me” with verses and absurd linguistic associations that can be read in different orders, allowing for unexpected connections between words and ideas.
Photos by Timothy Schenck.