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Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations, 1962 (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, 1962 (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, Twenty-Six 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

From the Quarterly

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Ed Ruscha, Startup Text, 2015 © Ed Ruscha

Fundraiser

The Sexy Beast Gala

Saturday, October 20, 2018, 6:30pm
Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
www.sexybeast.org

The Sexy Beast Gala is an evening of art and activism benefitting Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. The event will include performances, a silent auction, a pop-up shop, and more. To attend the event, purchase tickets at www.sexybeast.org.

Ed Ruscha, Startup Text, 2015 © Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Even Though He’s Light Years Away, His Heart Belongs to Me, 1963 © Ed Ruscha

Art Fair

Seattle Art Fair

August 2–5, 2018, booth A09
CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle
www.seattleartfair.com

Gagosian is pleased to present Out of This World: Artists Explore Space, a booth curated by Larry Gagosian for the 2018 Seattle Art Fair. The presentation gathers works that reveal artistic and scientific explorations of the cosmos. Featured artists include Richard Avedon, Andisheh Avini, Chris Burden, Alexander Calder, Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Neil Jenney, Mike Kelley, Yves Klein, Vera Lutter, Brice Marden, Marc Newson, Nam June Paik, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Taryn Simon, Yves Tanguy, and Andy Warhol, among others.

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at seattleartfair.com.

Ed Ruscha, Even Though He’s Light Years Away, His Heart Belongs to Me, 1963 © Ed Ruscha

Photo: Manfredi Gioacchini

In Conversation

Ed Ruscha
Christopher Riopelle

Friday, June 8, 2018, 6:30–7:30pm
National Gallery, London
www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Ed Ruscha has shaped the way we see the American landscape over the span of his influential six-decade career. Hear him discuss his upcoming exhibition, Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire, opening at the National Gallery on June 11, with Christopher Riopelle, the museum’s Neil Westreich curator of post-1800 paintings. To attend the event, purchase tickets at www.nationalgallery.org.uk.

Photo: Manfredi Gioacchini

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Museum Exhibitions

Chris Burden, All the Submarines of the United States of America, 1987 © Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

Opening this Week

Unsettled

October 27, 2018–April 30, 2019
Palm Springs Art Museum, California
www.psmuseum.org

Unsettled, cocurated by JoAnne Northrup and Ed Ruscha, amasses two hundred artworks by eighty artists spanning two thousand years to explore the geography of frontiers characterized by vast expanses of open land, rich natural resources, diverse indigenous peoples, colonialism, and the ongoing conflicts that inevitably arise when these factors coexist. This exhibition originated at the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno. Work by Chris Burden and Ed Ruscha is included.

Chris Burden, All the Submarines of the United States of America, 1987 © Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Fallen Angel, 1981, Fondation Carmignac, Paris © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris 2018

On View

Sea of Desire

Through November 4, 2018
Fondation Carmignac, Porquerolles, France
www.fondationcarmignac.com

The phrase “Sea of Desire” on a large-scale painting by Ed Ruscha will welcome visitors to this exhibition, which channels a spirit of rebellion and change. Sea of Desire will confront the viewer with compelling artworks that imply revolution, freedom, and a quest for beauty. Work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol will be included.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Fallen Angel, 1981, Fondation Carmignac, Paris © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris 2018

Ed Ruscha, Year after Year, 1973, UBS Art Collection © Ed Ruscha

On View

Ed Ruscha
Very

Through December 16, 2018
Kode Art Museums and Composer Homes, Bergen, Norway
kodebergen.no

With works from the UBS Art Collection as a basis, this exhibition covers the artist’s production from the 1960s onward, focusing on the technically and graphically innovative approaches that Ed Ruscha has made use of over the years. Studies from his most iconic paintings and artist’s books are also on display. This show has traveled from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark.

Ed Ruscha, Year after Year, 1973, UBS Art Collection © Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Pool #2, 1968 (printed 1997), Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin © Ed Ruscha

On View

Ed Ruscha
Archaeology and Romance

Through January 6, 2019
Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
www.hrc.utexas.edu

Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance features more than 150 objects and presents Ruscha’s celebrated books, photographs, drawings, and prints alongside unpublished archival production materials, layout sketches, and studio notebooks. The exhibition also examines the stages of conception, design, and production leading to the publication of his groundbreaking artist’s books, and provides audiences with an unprecedented look into Ruscha’s creative process.

Ed Ruscha, Pool #2, 1968 (printed 1997), Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin © Ed Ruscha

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Press

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