Monday, November 30, 2015

Every Building in the Sunset Strip at Untitled Art Fair, Miami

Earlier this year I remade Ed Ruscha's 1966 artist book Every Building On The Sunset Strip, twice. The first was an accordion-fold book, in which I researched every address in the original title, unearthing stories that ranged from the banal to the bizarre, as is evidenced by the following two (sequential) entries:

8860 - The Sun-Bee Food Mart from 1966 is now the Sun Bee Liquor & Food Mart. It can be seen very briefly in the exploitation film Black Shampoo (1976) and The Outside Man (1972). 

8863 - Barney Ruditsky was a British-born American police officer and private detective. During his 20-year career with the New York Police Department, he was a prominent "celebrity detective”. He retired from the force in 1941 and served in the army during World War II, where he was wounded by shrapnel. Ruditsky then moved to Los Angeles and opened a Liquor Store near the corner of Clark and Sunset. He named it Angel’s Corner, after his unpublished memoirs. He was also the co-owner of Sherry’s nightclub, down the street. 

His writings about his time with the NYPD were adapted into the television series The Lawless Years (1959 - 1961), but he is best known for an incident when he was working as a Los Angeles Private Detective. In 1954, actress Marilyn Monroe  was divorcing baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. After seeing her car parked outside an apartment near Melrose and Crescent Heights and suspecting her of infidelities, DiMaggio hired Ruditsky to orchestrate a raid on the apartment. 

At 11pm, the two men, accompanied by some of Rudistky’s colleagues and the singer Frank Sinatra, battered down the front door with an axe, breaking glass and tearing it from its hinges. A Mrs Florence Ross - a 39 year-old secretary who lived alone - was fast asleep, and Monroe was next door, visiting her friend Sheila Stewart Renour. The incident, and subsequent lawsuit, became known as the “Wrong Door Raid”.

Many of the stories involve the film industry, unsurprisingly. The second remake of Ruscha's book was as a slide show video and series of fifty prints. By watching virtually every film and television series ever filmed in the area, I was able to track down every address in the book, replacing Ruscha's dispassionate black and white photographs, with colour film stills.

For more information, visit my website, here.

A small portion of this project will be on view at the Untitled Art Fair in Miami Beach, Ocean Drive at 12 Street, beginning December 2nd and running until the 6th. The MKG127 booth is located at C9.

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