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Ed Ruscha

On the Road: An Artist Book of the Classic Novel by Jack Kerouac

October 12–November 28, 2009
Davies Street, London

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Works Exhibited

Ed Ruscha, On the Road, 2009 An artist book of the classic novel by Jack Kerouac, 14 ⅛ × 18 ¼ × 2 ¾ inches (35.9 × 46.6 × 7.1 cm), edition of 350

Ed Ruscha, On the Road, 2009

An artist book of the classic novel by Jack Kerouac, 14 ⅛ × 18 ¼ × 2 ¾ inches (35.9 × 46.6 × 7.1 cm), edition of 350

Ed Ruscha, On the Road, 2009 An artist book of the classic novel by Jack Kerouac, 14 ⅛ × 18 ¼ × 2 ¾ inches (35.9 × 46.6 × 7.1 cm), edition of 350

Ed Ruscha, On the Road, 2009

An artist book of the classic novel by Jack Kerouac, 14 ⅛ × 18 ¼ × 2 ¾ inches (35.9 × 46.6 × 7.1 cm), edition of 350

About

The original novel was published in 1957 and it’s about a group of crazy young people who just travel back and forth across the United States. Sometimes they hitchhike and sometimes they drive cars. They steal cars and just want to be on the road the whole time. I’ve always liked that notion.
—Ed Ruscha

In 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road on his typewriter as a continuous 120-foot-long scroll, feverishly recording in twenty days his experiences during road trips in the United States and Mexico, which he began with Neil Cassady in the late 1940s. On the Road was finally published in 1957, and Kerouac was immediately acknowledged as the voice of the Beat Generation, a new group of writers, including Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, who became known for their embracing of radical free-verse style.

Ed Ruscha’s singular art has recorded the shifting emblems of American life in the form of Hollywood logos, stylized gas stations, and archetypal landscapes. His wry choice of words and indirect phrases mines the perpetual interplay between language as a physical thing and language as a transparent medium. During the 1960s, he created a series of cheaply printed photographic books as deadpan meditations on the romantic vision of the road epitomized by the Beats. His typologies of the urban environment of Los Angeles included Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963) and Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966). In Royal Road Test (1967), he brought the word and the road together in a conceptual prank by documenting himself dropping a vintage typewriter from a speeding Buick.

Over the last couple of years, Ruscha has turned his attention to On the Road, resulting in his own version of Kerouac’s Beat bible. Kerouac’s entire text appears accompanied by black-and-white photographic illustrations that Ruscha has either taken himself, commissioned from other photographers, or selected from found images to refer closely to the details and impressions that the author describes, from car parts to jazz instruments, from sandwich stacks to tire burns on a desert road.

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News

Photo: Kate Simon

Artist Spotlight

Ed Ruscha

September 16–22, 2020

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. Ruscha’s formal experimentations and clever use of the American vernacular have evolved in form and meaning as technology alters the essence of human communication.

Photo: Kate Simon

Installation view, Ed Ruscha: Drum Skins, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, January 11–October 4, 2020. Artwork © Ed Ruscha

galleryplatform.la

Ed Ruscha
Drum Skins

May 28–June 30, 2020

Gagosian is pleased to present recent paintings by Ed Ruscha online for galleryplatform.laFifty years ago, Ruscha purchased a set of vellum drum skins from a leather shop in Los Angeles. He has continued to collect these vintage objects, and since 2011 he has used them as canvases for the works on view in his solo exhibition Drum Skins at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. 

Installation view, Ed Ruscha: Drum Skins, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, January 11–October 4, 2020. Artwork © Ed Ruscha