Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

Menu Close

401 Broadway #1620
New York, NY 10013
+1 212 254 8200


Allen Ruppersberg Sourcebook: Reanimating the 20th century



Edited by Allen Ruppersberg
Foreword by Kate Fowle, introduction by Constance M. Lewallen
Design by General Working Group
Softcover, with French-fold jacket, 284 pages
Full Color. 8.5 x 11 inches. 2014
Published by Independent Curators International (ICI) and distributed by Distributed Art Publishers (D.A.P.) and Walther König Books
ISBN: 9780916365844

The Allen Ruppersberg Sourcebook: Reanimating the 20th century is a unique collection of original source material edited by Ruppersberg from his extensive archives of texts, images, films, records and ephemera influential to his practice over the past four decades. Focusing on nine projects by the artist from 1978 to 2012, the Sourcebook offers an exclusive insight into Ruppersberg’s thinking, and a practice sparked by his interest in 20th century popular culture and pre-digital materials.

In 2011, Independent Curators International (ICI) created the Sourcebook Series, dedicated to contemporary artists’ personal perspectives on social, political, and cultural issues. For the second Sourcebook in the series, Allen Ruppersberg has mined his archives, stored between his family home in Cleveland and his studio in Los Angeles. Delving into the influences and research that has impacted him, the artist has assembled various selections from this material, reprinting key texts by Allen Ginsberg and Marshall McLuhan, among others, and reproducing album and magazine covers from his collection. All together, these ephemeral and pre-digital materials open new perspectives on the way the American century underpins the artist’s practice.

The publication is articulated through nine important artworks from Ruppersberg’s career including his 1995 project for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations; his 1997 guide book for the Münster Sculpture Project; his 2012 project dedicated to the American vernacular of recorded music, No Time Left to Start Again/The B and D of R 'n' R, and more.

Allen Ruppersberg (b. 1944) is one of the first generation of American conceptual artists with an oeuvre that includes paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, installations and literature. While his career began in painting, Ruppersberg soon shifted his focus to the study of languages, pictures, books, and ideas and began extensively collecting texts of American popular culture and educational films from 1931-1967. With an interest in cultural mythologies, narratives and everyday life, these materials served as a vital source in his practice. Since the late 1960s, his work has been the subject of over 60 solo exhibitions and nearly 200 group shows, and can be found in museum permanent collections internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Foundation de Appel, Amsterdam; and Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt. Career highlights include participation in the Whitney Biennials (1970, 1975, 1991), and Documenta V (1972). In 1985 the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles organized a major survey of Ruppersberg's work, which subsequently traveled to the New Museum of Contemporary Art, in New York. His work was included in the exhibition, State of Mind: New California Art in the 1970s, co-curated by Constance M. Lewallen and Karen Moss, and co-organized by the Orange County Museum of Art and the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. The exhibition tour was organized by ICI and travelled nationally July 2012 through January 2014.

I collect not as a collector but as an artist who finds things to use. It’s not that I want to collect something that’s going to be this or that in the future. It’s because I think I can use it. Though it might take ten years for me to figure out where it goes.
—Allen Ruppersberg, BOMB, 109, Fall 2009

About the Sourcebook Series
Each book in the Independent Curators International (ICI) Sourcebook Series is edited by a single artist, includes a collection of primary research materials and influences, such as rare archival documents, artwork studies, and excerpts of landmark publications, selected from the artist’s own archive and annotated with personal commentary.

The Sourcebook Series follows the development of an artist’s oeuvre through the very material that inspires and influences it. Each book is a catalyst to further understand contemporary artistic practice, particularly by artists who challenge conventional art histories while contributing to its development. The first publication in the series, Martha Wilson: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces was released in 2011.