Allen Ruppersberg

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Allen Ruppersberg
Cover Art for Web of Evil
Collage of printed papers and Dymo tape.
40 x 60 inches (101.6 x 152.4 cm)
Gift of Marc Selwyn, Los Angeles.

Ruppersberg is a Conceptual artist who appropriates and alters the forms and conventions of popular media, especially print media. He is perhaps best known for installations of found and original letterpress posters and for impeccable drawings of books. This work belongs to a series of about 18 "Cover Art" collages from the mid-1980s. It is comprised primarily of colorful images from "old stock from a calendar warehouse in NYC... pieced together like a puzzle using the sizes they came in". Individually-cut, printed letters spell out "Web of Evil by Al Reed," in the style of a ransom note. Together with the work's title, the phrase suggests this is the cover of a book by Ruppersberg's alter ego. He placed strips of Dymo red label-tape that was standard at the time, bearing phrases that echo the menacing title around the perimeter of the collage. One reads, "A chilling story of spine tingling mystery and suspense / It will make your blood boil and your hair turn white." These familiar sentences appear like a caption beneath cheerful photos of children with dogs, underscoring the absurdity of the work's pairings of imagery and text, but also the power of words to alter our relationship to images.

Christine Burgin, New York; Marc Selwyn, Los Angeles (2017); gift to the Morgan (2022).
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