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Ed Ruscha

Psycho Spaghetti Westerns

February 25–April 9, 2011
Beverly Hills

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

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Installation video

Works Exhibited

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #3, 2010 Acrylic on canvas, 60 × 112 inches (152.4 × 284.5 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #3, 2010

Acrylic on canvas, 60 × 112 inches (152.4 × 284.5 cm)
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #4, 2010 Acrylic on canvas, 54 × 120 inches (137.2 × 304.8 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #4, 2010

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

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #5, 2010 Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 110 inches (121.9 × 279.4 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #5, 2010

Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 110 inches (121.9 × 279.4 cm)
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #6, 2010 Acrylic on canvas, 70 × 108 inches (177.8 × 274.3 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #6, 2010

Acrylic on canvas, 70 × 108 inches (177.8 × 274.3 cm)
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #7, 2010–11 Acrylic on canvas, 70 × 138 inches (177.8 × 350.5 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #7, 2010–11

Acrylic on canvas, 70 × 138 inches (177.8 × 350.5 cm)
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #8, 2010–11 Acrylic with used motor oil on canvas, 48 × 110 inches (121.9 × 279.4 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #8, 2010–11

Acrylic with used motor oil on canvas, 48 × 110 inches (121.9 × 279.4 cm)
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #10, 2010–11 Acrylic on canvas, 54 × 120 inches (137.2 × 304.8 cm)© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #10, 2010–11

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

About

Deterioration is a fertile area to explore.
—Ed Ruscha

Gagosian is pleased to present ten new paintings by Ed Ruscha, in his first painting exhibition in Los Angeles in twelve years.

Psycho Spaghetti Westerns are a surreal extension of the ideas that motivated the Course of Empire series, with which Ruscha represented the United States at the 2005 Biennale di Venezia. Course of Empire was inspired by five paintings by Thomas Cole of the Hudson River School, which depict the same landscape over time as it declines from a pristine natural state into desolation. Similarly, Ruscha has documented the effects of time on landscape in a manner that is both empirical and metaphorically charged, creating finely nuanced exercises in perception and memory that he describes as “waste and retrieval.”

In these wide horizontal paintings, landscape becomes a mental construct of abutting abstract surfaces—one a sfumato backdrop, the other a representational ground (grass, scrub, rock). This structure—a strong diagonal that cuts the picture plane, dividing background from foreground—is a pictorial device that Ruscha has often used, dating back as far as the Standard Station paintings of the 1960s. Here it provides a near-neutral picture plane for meticulously rendered still lifes in which incidental trash—tire shreds, beer cans, construction materials, packaging, and discarded mattresses—provide for reflection on the transformation of things by nature or culture.

Ruscha’s singular vision defies easy categorization. He 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. Although his images are undeniably rooted in the vernacular of a closely observed American reality, his elegantly laconic art speaks to more complex and widespread issues regarding the appearance, feel, and function of the world and our tenuous and transient place within it.

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.

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