Menu

Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations, 1963 (detail; Union, Needles, California) Artist’s book: offset printing on paper, closed: 7 ⅛ × 5 ½ × ¼ inches (18.1 × 14 × 0.5 cm); edition of 400© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations, 1963 (detail; Union, Needles, California)

Artist’s book: offset printing on paper, closed: 7 ⅛ × 5 ½ × ¼ inches (18.1 × 14 × 0.5 cm); edition of 400
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Jelly, 1967 Oil on canvas, 20 × 23 ⅞ inches (50.8 × 60.6 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Jelly, 1967

Oil on canvas, 20 × 23 ⅞ inches (50.8 × 60.6 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Palm Tree #2, 1971/2003 Gelatin silver print, 14 × 11 inches (35.6 × 27.9 cm), edition of 8© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Palm Tree #2, 1971/2003

Gelatin silver print, 14 × 11 inches (35.6 × 27.9 cm), edition of 8
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Did Anyone Say “Dreamboat”?, 1975 Pastel on paper, 21 ½ × 28 ½ inches (54.6 × 72.4 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Did Anyone Say “Dreamboat”?, 1975

Pastel on paper, 21 ½ × 28 ½ inches (54.6 × 72.4 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Romeo, With Contraception Ghost, 1980 Oil on canvas, 120 × 54 ¼ inches (304.8 × 137.8 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Romeo, With Contraception Ghost, 1980

Oil on canvas, 120 × 54 ¼ inches (304.8 × 137.8 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, The Dippers, 1982 Oil on canvas, 32 × 120 inches (81.3 × 304.8 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, The Dippers, 1982

Oil on canvas, 32 × 120 inches (81.3 × 304.8 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, A, 1985–87 Acrylic on canvas, in 3 parts, each: 66 ¼ × 137 ¼ inches (168.3 × 348.6 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, A, 1985–87

Acrylic on canvas, in 3 parts, each: 66 ¼ × 137 ¼ inches (168.3 × 348.6 cm)
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, No Man’s Land, 1990 Acrylic on canvas, 54 × 120 inches (137.2 × 304.8 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, No Man’s Land, 1990

Acrylic on canvas, 54 × 120 inches (137.2 × 304.8 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, End, 1993 Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 48 inches (121.9 × 121.9 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, End, 1993

Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 48 inches (121.9 × 121.9 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Rubbing Compound, 1961–2003 Gelatin silver print, 13 × 10 inches (33 × 25.4 cm), edition of 8© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Rubbing Compound, 1961–2003

Gelatin silver print, 13 × 10 inches (33 × 25.4 cm), edition of 8
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, The Old Tool & Die Building, 2004 Acrylic on canvas, 52 × 116 inches (132.1 × 294.6 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, The Old Tool & Die Building, 2004

Acrylic on canvas, 52 × 116 inches (132.1 × 294.6 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, The End #59, 2005 Acrylic and ink on museum board, 24 × 30 inches (61 × 76.2 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, The End #59, 2005

Acrylic and ink on museum board, 24 × 30 inches (61 × 76.2 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, UNTITLED DIPTYCH, 2007 Mixografia relief print on handmade paper, in 2 parts, each: 64 × 72 inches (163 × 183 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, UNTITLED DIPTYCH, 2007

Mixografia relief print on handmade paper, in 2 parts, each: 64 × 72 inches (163 × 183 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, NEW WOOD / OLD WOOD, 2007 Mixographia relief print on handmade paper, in 2 parts, each: 13 × 34 inches (33 × 86 cm), edition of 75© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, NEW WOOD / OLD WOOD, 2007

Mixographia relief print on handmade paper, in 2 parts, each: 13 × 34 inches (33 × 86 cm), edition of 75
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Punched Out Glass, 2007 Dry pigment and acrylic on museum board paper, 12 ¼ × 9 ⅜ inches (31.1 × 23.8 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Punched Out Glass, 2007

Dry pigment and acrylic on museum board paper, 12 ¼ × 9 ⅜ inches (31.1 × 23.8 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Study for Psycho Spaghetti Western #4, 2010 Acrylic on canvas, 26 × 26 inches (66 × 66 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Study for Psycho Spaghetti Western #4, 2010

Acrylic on canvas, 26 × 26 inches (66 × 66 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, History Kids, 2009 Acrylic on canvas, 36 × 48 inches (91.4 × 121.9 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, History Kids, 2009

Acrylic on canvas, 36 × 48 inches (91.4 × 121.9 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Oaf, 2009 Acrylic on museum board paper, 40 × 30 inches (101.6 × 76.2 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Oaf, 2009

Acrylic on museum board paper, 40 × 30 inches (101.6 × 76.2 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Fanned Book, 2012 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 64 ⅛ × 71 ⅛ inches (162.9 × 180.7 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Fanned Book, 2012

Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 64 ⅛ × 71 ⅛ inches (162.9 × 180.7 cm)
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Woo, Woo, 2013 Bleach on linen-covered board, 16 × 20 inches (40.6 × 50.8 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Woo, Woo, 2013

Bleach on linen-covered board, 16 × 20 inches (40.6 × 50.8 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #14, 2013–14 Acrylic on canvas, 54 × 132 inches (137.2 × 335.3 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #14, 2013–14

Acrylic on canvas, 54 × 132 inches (137.2 × 335.3 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Rusty Signs—Dead End 1, 2014 Mixografia print on handmade paper, 24 × 24 inches (61 × 61 cm), edition of 50© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Rusty Signs—Dead End 1, 2014

Mixografia print on handmade paper, 24 × 24 inches (61 × 61 cm), edition of 50
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Untitled, 2015 Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 124 inches (182.9 × 315 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Untitled, 2015

Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 124 inches (182.9 × 315 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Really Old, 2016 Acrylic on canvas, 114 × 76 inches (289.6 × 193 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Really Old, 2016

Acrylic on canvas, 114 × 76 inches (289.6 × 193 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

About

There are things that I’m constantly looking at that I feel should be elevated to greater status, almost to philosophical status or to a religious status. That’s why taking things out of context is a useful tool to an artist. It’s the concept of taking something that’s not subject matter and making it subject matter.
—Ed Ruscha

At the start of his artistic career, Ed Ruscha called himself an “abstract artist ... who deals with subject matter.” Abandoning academic connotations that came to be associated with Abstract Expressionism, he looked instead to tropes of advertising and brought words—as form, symbol, and material—to the forefront of painting. Working in diverse media with humor and wit, he oscillates between sign and substance, locating the sublime in landscapes both natural and artificial.

In 1956, Ruscha moved from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles, where he attended the Chouinard Art Institute. During his time in art school, he had been painting in the manner of Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning, and came across a reproduction of Jasper Johns’s Target with Four Faces (1955). Struck by Johns’s use of readymade images as supports for abstraction, Ruscha began to consider how he could employ graphics in order to expose painting’s dual identity as both object and illusion. For his first word painting, E.Ruscha (1959), he intentionally miscalculated the space it would take to write his first initial and surname on the canvas, inserting the last two letters, HA, above and indicating the “error” with an arrow. After graduation, Ruscha began to work for ad agencies, honing his skills in schematic design and considering questions of scale, abstraction, and viewpoint, which became integral to his painting and photography. He produced his first artist’s book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations—a series of deadpan photographs the artist took while driving on Route 66 from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City—in 1963. Ruscha since has gone on to create over a dozen artists’ books, including the 25-foot-long, accordion-folded Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) and his version of Kerouac's iconic On the Road (2009). Ruscha also paints trompe-l’oeil bound volumes and alters book spines and interiors with painted words: books in all forms pervade his investigations of language and the distribution of art and information.

Ruscha’s paintings of the 1960s explore the noise and the fluidity of language. With works such as OOF (1962–63)—which presents the exclamation in yellow block letters on a blue ground—it is nearly impossible to look at the painting without verbalizing the visual. Since his first exhibition with Gagosian in 1993, Ruscha has had twenty-one solo exhibitions with the gallery, including Custom-Built Intrigue: Drawings 1974–84 (2017), comprising a decade of reverse-stencil drawings of phrases rendered in pastel, dry pigment, and various edible substances, from spinach to carrot juice. The first retrospective of Ruscha’s drawings was held in 2004 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ruscha continues to influence contemporary artists worldwide, his formal experimentations and clever use of the American vernacular evolving in form and meaning as technology and internet platforms alter the essence of human communication. Ruscha represented the United States at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005) with Course of Empire, an installation of ten paintings. Inspired by nineteenth century American artist Thomas Cole’s famous painting cycle of the same name, the work alludes to the pitfalls surrounding modernist visions of progress. In 2018 Ruscha’s Course of Empire was presented concurrently with Cole’s at the National Gallery in London.

Ed Ruscha

Photo: Leo Holub/Archives of American Art/Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Website

edruscha.com

Black-and-white photograph: Donald Marron, c. 1984.

Donald Marron

Jacoba Urist profiles the legendary collector.

Alexander Calder poster for McGovern, 1972, lithograph

The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters

Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.

Ed Ruscha, At That, 2020, dry pigment and acrylic on paper.

“Things Fall Apart”: Ed Ruscha’s Swiped Words

Lisa Turvey examines the range of effects conveyed by the blurred phrases in recent drawings by the artist, detailing the ways these words in motion evoke the experience of the current moment.

Andy Warhol cover design for the magazine Aspen 1, no. 3.

Artists’ Magazines

Gwen Allen recounts her discovery of cutting-edge artists’ magazines from the 1960s and 1970s and explores the roots and implications of these singular publications.

A painting with gold frame by Louis Michel Eilshemius. Landscape with single figure.

Eilshemius and Me: An Interview with Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha tells Viet-Nu Nguyen and Leta Grzan how he first encountered Louis Michel Eilshemius’s paintings, which of the artist’s aesthetic innovations captured his imagination, and how his own work relates to and differs from that of this “Neglected Marvel.”

River Café menu with illustration by Ed Ruscha.

The River Café Cookbook

London’s River Café, a culinary mecca perched on a bend in the River Thames, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2018. To celebrate this milestone and the publication of her cookbook River Café London, cofounder Ruth Rogers sat down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the famed restaurant’s allure.

The cover of the Fall 2019 Gagosian Quarterly magazine. Artwork by Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019

The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.

The artist Ed Ruscha discussing his work.

Ed Ruscha: A Long Way from Oklahoma

In conjunction with his exhibition VERY at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, Ed Ruscha sat down with Kasper Bech Dyg to discuss his work.

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Notre-Dame), 2019.

For Notre-Dame

An exhibition at Gagosian, Paris, is raising funds to aid in the reconstruction of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris following the devastating fire of April 2019. Gagosian directors Serena Cattaneo Adorno and Jean-Olivier Després spoke to Jennifer Knox White about the generous response of artists and others, and what the restoration of this iconic structure means across the world.

Anselm Kiefer, Maginot, 1977–93.

Veil and Vault

An exhibition at the Broad in Los Angeles prompts James Lawrence to examine how artists give shape and meaning to the passage of time, and how the passage of time shapes our evolving accounts of art.

Course of Empire

Course of Empire

Ed Ruscha sat down with Tom McCarthy and Elizabeth Kornhauser, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to discuss the nineteenth-century artist Thomas Cole, whose Course of Empire paintings inspired a series of works by Ruscha more than a century later.

Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2018

Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2018

The Winter 2018 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available. Our cover this issue comes from High Times, a new body of work by Richard Prince.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Georg Baselitz, Noch ein Orangenesser, 2020 © Georg Baselitz

Art Fair

Art Basel Hong Kong 2021

May 21–23, 2021, booth 1d30
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong with a presentation of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture by gallery artists. New paintings by Georg BaselitzAlex IsraelEd Ruscha, and Sarah Sze are featured alongside exceptional works in a range of mediums by Louise BonnetTheaster GatesHenry MooreNam June Paik, and others, uncovering formal and conceptual innovations and associations that span genres and aesthetic approaches.

Georg Baselitz, Noch ein Orangenesser, 2020 © Georg Baselitz

Mary Weatherford, Sunset, Western Cape, 2020 © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Auction

Venice Family Clinic Art Walk
Benefit Auction 2021

April 28–May 12, 2021

Venice Family Clinic presents its annual benefit auction, a fundraising event whose proceeds will provide essential health care services to people in the community regardless of their income, immigration, or insurance status. Since its inception forty years ago, this charity event has raised more than $23 million. This year’s auction, hosted on Artsy, is honoring Mary Weatherford as the “signature artist” and features more than two hundred works by nationally recognized contemporary artists, including Piero Golia, Ed Ruscha, Robert Therrien, as well as Weatherford. To register to bid, visit artsy.net.

Mary Weatherford, Sunset, Western Cape, 2020 © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Still from “Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists: Ed Ruscha and Rachel Kushner”

Video

Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists
Ed Ruscha and Rachel Kushner

In the third episode of Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists, novelist Rachel Kushner and Ed Ruscha share memories of Kathy Acker and Walter Hopps, talk about their love of vintage cars, and enjoy a good pun. Rachel Kushner’s The Hard Crowd: Essays, 2000–2010 will be released on April 6 and Ed Ruscha: OKLA, the artist’s first solo exhibition in his home state, is on view at the Oklahoma Contemporary through July 5. Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists brings together luminaries in the fields of art and literature to have the conversations they themselves wish to have. This biweekly web series is a joint production of Artforum and Bookforum, and is sponsored by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.

Still from “Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists: Ed Ruscha and Rachel Kushner”

See all News for Ed Ruscha

Museum Exhibitions

Glenn Brown, Lemon Sunshine, 2001 © Glenn Brown

On View

00s. Collection Cranford
Les années 2000

Through May 30, 2021
Mo.Co. Contemporary, Montpellier, France
www.moco.art

This exhibition of work from the Cranford Collection, established by Muriel and Freddy Salem in 1999, aims to define the identity of the 2000s by creating a dialogue between one hundred artworks by a multigenerational array of artists who contributed to shaping the beginning of the millennium. Work by Glenn Brown, Damien Hirst, Mike Kelley, Albert Oehlen, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, Franz West, and Christopher Wool is included.

Glenn Brown, Lemon Sunshine, 2001 © Glenn Brown

Ed Ruscha, Double Standard, 1966–69 © Ed Ruscha

On View

Ed Ruscha
Travel Log

Through May 30, 2021
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, California
svma.org

This exhibition by Ed Ruscha includes rarely seen black-and-white photographs documenting the artist’s frequent trips from Los Angeles to Oklahoma in the 1960s, which reveal inspirations for his iconic prints and paintings, including images of gas stations, diners, and the streets of rural towns like Gallup, New Mexico, and Winslow, Arizona. Also featured are examples of his well-known word prints, including color lithographs that combine visual formality with playful language.

Ed Ruscha, Double Standard, 1966–69 © Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Mocha Standard, 1969 © Ed Ruscha

On View

Ed Ruscha
OKLA

Through July 5, 2021
Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City
oklahomacontemporary.org

Over the past six decades, Ed Ruscha has produced a diverse and highly influential body of work encompassing paintings, drawings, prints, books, photographs, and films. OKLA focuses on the artist’s Oklahoma roots—his family, his upbringing, and his discovery of his calling as an artist. It is also, remarkably, his first solo museum exhibition in his home state. Ruscha lived in Oklahoma City from the ages of five to eighteen—a formative period in both his life and his artistic sensibility. His Midwestern childhood had a profound impact on his art, which the exhibition explores through around seventy-five works from all phases of his career.

Ed Ruscha, Mocha Standard, 1969 © Ed Ruscha

Installation view, Ed Ruscha: Artist Rooms, Tate Modern, London, July 26, 2019–July 18, 2021. Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo © Tate (Oliver Cowling)

On View

Ed Ruscha
Artist Rooms

Through July 18, 2021
Tate Modern, London
www.tate.org.uk

This display reflects the range of Ed Ruscha’s practice, including paintings, prints, and photographic books, through artworks spanning sixty years of the artist’s career. Full of irony and humor, his works can often be interpreted as commentaries on American society.

Installation view, Ed Ruscha: Artist Rooms, Tate Modern, London, July 26, 2019–July 18, 2021. Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo © Tate (Oliver Cowling)

See all Museum Exhibitions for Ed Ruscha

Press

See all Press