The Skirball Cultural Center is exhibiting “The Singing Posters: Poetry Sound Collage Sculpture Book”, artist Allen Ruppersberg’s homage to poet Allen Ginsberg’s famous poem, “Howl” (1955–1956), through Aug. 23.
Ruppersberg first conceived of the work when he discovered that his students at UCLA had never heard of the poem.
For the artist, it was a way to introduce “Howl” — which marks its 60th anniversary this year — to a new generation.
For the installation, Ruppersberg transcribed “Howl” into phonetic spellings and printed the text on approximately 200 vibrantly colored posters reminiscent of commercial advertising.
These are installed floor to ceiling on gallery walls.
The phonetically spelled text compels viewers to read the poem out loud and experience it not only as a historically significant written work, but also as a vivid spoken-word experience that resonates to this day.
The layout and typography of the posters are visually chaotic, like the barrage of images conjured up by the poem.
The installation also includes Ruppersberg’s personal scrapbooks, which contain an accumulation of images, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs and other miscellany that the artist has collected throughout his life, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The Singing Posters: Poetry Sound Collage Sculpture Book” is presented by the Skirball in conjunction with its major spring/summer exhibition, “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution”.
The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. For information, visit www.skirball.org.
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