Fairs & Collecting

Ed Ruscha
Drum Skins

May 28–June 30, 2020

There’s a peculiar kind of patois, like Okie jargon. People have a funny way of speaking, almost like using bad English, double negatives like, “I can’t find my keys nowhere.” . . . Yes, they were incorrect, but they had a punch to them.
—Ed Ruscha

Gagosian is pleased to present recent paintings by Ed Ruscha online for The works are currently featured in the solo exhibition Drum Skins at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. The museum is currently closed due to the ongoing health crisis, but the show can be explored through a 360° virtual tour.

Fifty 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 at the Blanton Museum of Art. In these paintings, Ruscha wraps a slangy phrase—each one chock full of double and triple negatives—around the perimeter of a drum skin. The resulting compositions are fresh and evocative, while also harking back to the crisp, colorful text paintings about the idiosyncrasies of West Coast life for which Ruscha is known. Here, however, he looks back to his earlier hometown of Oklahoma City, evoking the Americana of his youth with fondness and wit. The drum skin paintings possess a warm nostalgia that transports the artist’s fine-tuned visual language back to a simpler time and place.

In 1980, Larry Gagosian opened his first gallery in Los Angeles. In the forty years since, the gallery has continued to celebrate the city’s vibrant arts scene. We are thrilled to be among the founding members of, and we look forward to broadening our contribution to Los Angeles’s artistic community through this new initiative.

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

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

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On the occasion of Artist Spotlight: Ed Ruscha, join artist Adam McEwenGagosian director Bob Monk, and Lisa Turvey, editor of the catalogue raisonné of Ed Ruscha’s works on paper, for an online conversation. The trio will discuss how Ruscha has experimented with the sound, appearance, and sense of language to imbue his works on paper with humor and pathos. To join, register at

Ed Ruscha, CERTAIN FACTS, 2020 © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

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