A Spectacle and Nothing Strange (2011–) is a series of letterpress posters with fragments of text culled from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons (1914) and How to Write (1931). Fowler’s works were printed by the now-defunct Colby Poster Printing Company, a Los Angeles business that for more than sixty years made commercial posters advertising anything from music, wrestling and sporting events to carnivals, cheap car loans and hair care products. Fowler provided specific instructions to the printers to apply their seemingly endless combinations of colors and typographies to the posters. She then distributed them throughout the Los Angeles area, re-inserting the recognizable visual and graphics forms into the urban landscape of Los Angeles with a language not immediately discernable.
While the colorful gradients and various typefaces of A Spectacle and Nothing Strange resonates with existing forms of advertising, the phrases such as “Very different but much more,” “Rub her coke,” and “Anyone telling anything is telling that thing,” make strange the associations of these advertising graphics. Fowler’s posters disrupt the expectations of everyday informational spaces, queering the experience of both language and public space.
Eve Fowler studied journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and photography at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Printed Matter, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, among other sites. She has taught and lectured widely at institutions such as the University of Southern California and California Institutes of the Arts in Los Angeles; California College of Art in San Francisco; and Cooper Union in New York.
An exhibition program that utilizes the existing form of a large display case measuring four-by-twenty feet. Located on Level 0 near the Harvard Film Archive, Display Case hosts recurring exhibitions and installations by artists whose practices explore the intersections of media, advertising, art, and consumerism.