The billboards are now being dismounted. Most of the ones I pass on my usual routes around Hollywood aren’t there anymore, like the Rosler and Bornstein ones on Sunset or Fernandez’s on Hollywood. With the exhibition ending and the billboards coming down, Allen Ruppersberg’s gives us some forward momentum, something to look forward to–something ‘coming soon’.
Ruppersberg uniquely used the space of the billboard for a conventional, institutional purpose: to advertise the ambitious Pacific Standard Time research project and huge series of multi-venue exhibitions on postwar Los Angeles art to be staged throughout the region next year. A major influential player in the city’s art scene beginning in the 60s, Ruppersberg’s participation will be an important part of the upcoming exhibitions. Known for his career-long focus on books, language, photography, collage, and posters, he produced a composite billboard ad picturing a kind of imagined, personal fantasy version of a Pacific Standard Time catalogue based on the design and cover layout of LACMA’s 1971 Art and Technology exhibition catalogue in which he has substituted his own snapshots of artist friends and peers in the LA art world of the 60s and 70s. It is black, white, and gray. There is a characteristic dose of his humor in the personal tone and sly self-promotion. If only for Ruppersberg’s work – let alone the artistic community of his youth that I often fantasize about – I’m so glad PST is, as the billboard scrawls, ‘coming soon’.