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Ed Ruscha

Extremes and In-betweens

October 5–December 17, 2016
Grosvenor Hill, London

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Installation video

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Mike Bruce

Works Exhibited

Ed Ruscha, Bio Biology, 2016 Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 124 inches (182.9 × 315 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Bio Biology, 2016

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

Ed Ruscha, Galaxy, U.S.A., Dot, 2016 Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 124 inches (182.9 × 315 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Galaxy, U.S.A., Dot, 2016

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

Ed Ruscha, Inch, Mile, 2016 Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 124 inches (182.9 × 315 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Inch, Mile, 2016

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

Ed Ruscha, Ton Lb. Oz., 2016 Acrylic on museum board, 40 × 60 inches (101.6 × 152.4 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Ton Lb. Oz., 2016

Acrylic on museum board, 40 × 60 inches (101.6 × 152.4 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

About

Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Ed Ruscha.

In the restrained paintings that comprise Extremes and In-betweens, all completed in 2016, Ruscha sets in motion a dynamic interplay of words and their meanings in ascending and descending shifts of scale and tone that echo the relation of macrocosm to microcosm. Universe With Wrinkles depicts places in a diminishing progression from “UNIVERSE” to “AMERICA,” to “TAMPA, FLORIDA” to “10414 N. NEWPORT CIRCLE,” continuing to shrink coordinates to “TOP LEFT DRESSER DRAWER,” becoming progressively less readable and thus less visible. In Galaxy, spatial concepts are stacked on top of one another in diminishing scale—“GALAXY,” then “EARTH,” “U.S.A.,” and so on—like a vision test card. The subtle, powdery backgrounds of the paintings vary between muted black and an earthlike tone that Ruscha describes as “a color that forgot it was a color.” In the process of stenciling that Ruscha employs here, the background is laid over stencils onto the primed canvas, rendering the words as negative space. Text is formatted in the now-familiar typeface of his own design, which he has referred to as “Boy Scout utility modern,” used in the renowned Mountain paintings. In Arrows, directional markers oppose one another, with straight lines jarring against curvatures, indicating oppositional systems in a visual meditation on containment and coexistence.

A distinct group of four paintings takes up the mountain motif, which has recurred in Ruscha’s work since the 1990s. Underscoring other references to cinematic devices across Ruscha’s oeuvre, the blushing mountain peaks that appear at the center of each canvas are framed as if in a darkened cinematic aperture, and subtitled with relational word groups such as in All Some None. This verbal progression, in turn, echoes the conceptual vanishing points of the word paintings.

In a career spanning more than five decades, Ruscha has distilled the archetypal signs and symbols of the American vernacular into typographic and cinematic codes that are as accessible as they are profound. The wry choice of words and phrases that pervade his work draws upon the moments of incidental ambiguity implicit in the interplay between language and the concept that it signifies. Although his images are undeniably rooted in the signs and symbols of American reality closely observed, his elegant and 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.

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.

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.

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