Allen Ruppersberg Colby Sign, 2014

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Installation, replica of the orginal sign "Colby Poster Printing Co", constituted of 17 elements.
"Colby", 1 Diasec mounted on polystyr
ene, 55 x 90 cm x 8 cm and "Poster Printing Co", 16 laminated collages, each 56 x 35.4 cm


Unique piece
Certificate signed by the artist
Produced and published by mfc-michèle didier in 2014

©2014 Allen Ruppersberg and mfc-michèle didier
NB: All rights reserved. No part of this edition may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission of the artist and the publisher.

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It all begins with the end of a story, the one about the Colby Poster Printing Company that shut down in December 2012, taking with itself an emblematical graphic identity into history. A Colby poster can be easily distinguished from others and bear the stamp "from L.A.". Multicolored posters with unexpected gradients of flashy, typically Californian colors - the yellow of the sun or the beach, the green of the lush vegetation in this "West Coast" Eden, the blue of the ocean, the red or the pink of all the other wonders of this heavenly place on earth - the Colby posters, covered with outrageously bold characters, do not respect any typographical rules. These rules are mistreated, possibly by ignorance, probably on purpose; in either case it is a certain rule of the West not to follow the rules of the East.

"Colby Posters were the ultimate graphic design "ready-mades" and I think Marcel Duchamp would agree."says Julia Luke of the Hammer Museum.

Individuals or professionals of Los Angeles entrusted the production of their communication media to the Colby printing house: announcements for school fairs, concert, political meetings, posters for films, performances or all other services. The posters were then put up on the wooden utility poles that characterized the city, as true marks of identity in the cityscape of Los Angeles. Many other artists and celebrities, such as Elvis Presly, Martin Luther King, Ed Ruscha or Eve Fowler also turned to this particular aesthetic. Allen Ruppersberg was one of their most faithful and regular customers.

When the Colby Printing Company closed its doors, Allen Ruppersberg collected the printer's original sign, that was installed above the entrance of the factory. Based upon this yellow wooden sign, the artist decided to make an artwork, entitled Colby Sign. The work consists of a small size replica of the sign, accompanied with 16 posters from the famous printer on which the artist laminated photos of the second part of the sign, the letters P O S T E R  P R I N T I N G  C O.

*Julia Luke, Senior Designer Hammer Museum, in Printing the Identity of Los Angeles, text by Chad Kouri, 2013,

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