During the creation of Yes or No, Rapoport was engaged in the process of organizing and cataloguing the extensive archives of her research-based art practice, now preserved in perpetuity at the Bancroft Library of Western Americana at the University of California, Berkeley. This process of revisiting her past works is a defining methodology of Rapoport’s artmaking practice.
In Yes or No, she collaged duplicate papers and image fragments from various periods in her career onto full-page New York Times advertisements. She presents this autobiographical montage in the context of quotations from The Modern Moves West: California Artists and Democratic Culture in the Twentieth Century by Richard Cándida Smith, which describe the work of Jay DeFeo, a former classmate of Rapoport’s at Berkeley. Struck by how Cándida Smith’s descriptions of DeFeo’s artistic process and creative life seemed to parallel her own, Rapoport used selected phrases as borrowed illuminations on her own artistic career, whimsically and unapologetically transforming printed language and assumed history from a fixed form into an alchemical tool whereby new meanings are made visible.
– Text from exhibition statement for “Sonya Rapoport: Final Works” by Jasmine Moorhead and Farley Gwazda
A lavishly illustrated catalogue for Yes or No? created by Art Historians Alla Efimova and Terri Cohn is now available on Amazon. The authors decipher and interpret this tour de force of visual philosophy to make it accessible to Rapoport’s viewers and readers.
Sonya Rapoport “Yes or No?” (detail), 2015, printed mylar, and acetate on New York Times page, 11.5″ x 22″.