Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions

Marker on canvas, 20 parts
Each panel 72 x 72" (182.9 x 182.9 cm)
Partial gift of Stuart and Judy Spence and purchased with funds provided by Edward Joseph Gallagher 3rd Memorial Fund and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Robins, Jr. (both by exchange)
© 2014 Allen Ruppersberg

Allen Ruppersberg. The Picture of Dorian Gray. 1974

Marker on canvas, 20 parts, Each panel 72 x 72" (182.9 x 182.9 cm). Partial gift of Stuart and Judy Spence and purchased with funds provided by Edward Joseph Gallagher 3rd Memorial Fund and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Robins, Jr. (both by exchange). © 2018 Allen Ruppersberg

Allen Ruppersberg: My name is Allen Ruppersberg.

You're seeing two complete works of art. You're seeing Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and you're seeing my transcription or rewriting of the work. The copying out of this work is not arbitrary in the sense that the novel itself is about the passage of time. And it's also about a painting. So the more knowledge you have of the novel itself, the more relevant the work becomes.

The issue of writing and drawing is an element of my work that appears in many, many different pieces over the years. Myself, like many others of my generation, were looking for ways to introduce other elements into an art dialogue outside of paint and canvas. And so poetry and the use of text and narrative and other things that previously had been verboten to include were particularly attractive.

It's easy to stop and start at any point of the text and, you know, just one sentence can really be quite amazing. But if you think about the time that it would take somebody to stand in the gallery and read the entire novel on the canvases, they're obviously older than when they went in the gallery. So however much time they spend in front of the canvas, they're also aging, which is part of the narrative of the book.

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