More countercultural scenes at the museum
| 18 October 2006
Wallace Berman's Elvis-era journal disseminated bohemian art and poetry
Two other exhibits with countercultural ties opened this week at BAM. "Grapefruit" is a selection of "instruction paintings" from Yoko Ono's book of the same title. Instruction paintings are a conceptual idea, explains curator Constance Lewallen. "The artist can relinquish his or her authorship to the spectator. Here's an idea — you do it."
Grapefruit inspired John Lennon, who wrote his song "Imagine" after Ono presented the book to him in late 1966. As an homage to Lennon's song, the instruction paintings on view will include all of those in which the word "imagine" appears. "Imagine" peace buttons, a gift from Ono, will be given to viewers throughout the course of the exhibit. In addition, a telephone has been installed in the gallery, and Ono herself will call at various times during the exhibition.
"Allen Ruppersberg: The Singing Posters" pays tribute to Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" on the occasion of the poem's 50th anniversary. Ruppersberg recreated the poem using hundreds of day-glo posters that reproduce "Howl" — both its original text and a phonetic translation. Ruppersberg, who teaches at UCLA, conceived the work as an irreverent attempt to make "Howl" accessible to future generations, after learning that many of his students were unfamiliar with the poem.