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ALLEN RUPPERSBERG / Al's Café lithograph

ALLEN RUPPERSBERG / Al's Café lithograph

Regular price $1,250.00 AUD
Regular price Sale price $1,250.00 AUD
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Allen Ruppersberg
Al's Café  1979 
56 x 41cm, lithograph on paper

Condition: Excellent with minimal wear

(Al's) Cafe was intended to be a limited-run restaurant, staged once a week—Thursday nights from eight to eleven—in a rented location in downtown Los Angeles. It was to function socially as a meeting place for friends, members of the art world, and anyone else who wanted to drop by. In direct opposition to what one might have expected from a young artist at the time, the decor was familiar to the point of strangeness: hyperfamiliar, you might say today.

The look was as crafted as a movie set, true to the period, though the period could have been anywhere from 1925 to 1969. Against all Minimalist, Post-Minimalist, and Conceptualist expectations, this cafe was not an idea as an idea as an idea; it was sumptuously filled with romantic detail, suggesting a cafe that had existed for a lifetime of years and was filled with Middle American memorabilia—posters, nature calendars, fishing paraphernalia, pinups, picture postcards, and autographed photos of movie stars and sports heroes.

The patterns of the tablecloths were everyday plaid, the counter and the tables and chairs were traditional. Odd bits of advertising novelties were everywhere, souvenirs of past events abounded, and the waitresses were beautiful. This was Al's Cafe, the American cafe of all American cafes, looking as if it had been nurtured for forty years by a caring cafe-owner, filled with memories to be shared with generations of patrons. It was a place where any American would have felt at home. It was exorbitantly familiar. 

Since the 1960s, paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, installations, and books have been among the media through which Allen Ruppersberg explores the intersection of art, literature, and life. Like those of Allan Kaprow, Ruppersberg’s projects are participatory, anticipating the ideas of Rirkrit Tiravanija, Carsten Höller, and other 1990s practitioners of Relational Aesthetics. Ruppersberg's installation The Never Ending Book Part 2/Art and Therefore Ourselves (2009) was a selection of thousands of photocopied pages from the artist’s collection of books, which he installed in a theatrical environment of props and posters; the pages were stacked in boxes and free for viewers to take home and create their own unique “books”.

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