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.
Gagosian is pleased to present recent paintings by Ed Ruscha online for galleryplatform.la. The works are currently featured in the solo exhibition Drum Skins at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. 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 galleryplatform.la, and we look forward to broadening our contribution to Los Angeles’s artistic community through this new initiative.
Installation view, Ed Ruscha: Drum Skins, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, January 11–October 4, 2020. Artwork © Ed Ruscha
Adam McEwen, Bob Monk, and Lisa Turvey on Ed Ruscha
Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 5pm EDT
On the occasion of Artist Spotlight: Ed Ruscha, join artist Adam McEwen, Gagosian 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 zoom.us.
Ed Ruscha, CERTAIN FACTS, 2020 © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
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
Custom-Built Intrigue: Drawings 1974–1984
Ed Ruscha: Custom-Built Intrigue: Drawings 1974–1984 is available for online reading from September 16 through October 15 as part of the From the Library series. Published on the occasion of the artist’s 2017 exhibition at Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York, this catalogue features over seventy-five text drawings by Ruscha, rendered in pastel, dry pigment, and various edible substances. An essay by Lisa Turvey, editor of the Ed Ruscha catalogue raisonné of works on paper, examines the artist’s use of humor in this body of work.
Ed Ruscha: Custom-Built Intrigue: Drawings 1974–1984 (New York: Gagosian, 2018)
Albert Oehlen: In the Studio
This film by Albert Oehlen, with music by Tim Berresheim, takes us inside the artist’s studio in Switzerland as he works on a new painting.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2021
The Spring 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Gerhard Richter’s Helen (1963) on its cover.
Albert Oehlen and Mark Godfrey
Albert Oehlen speaks to Mark Godfrey about a recent group of abstract paintings, “academic” art, reversing habits, and questioning rules.
Hans Ulrich Obrist traces the history behind Richter’s Cage paintings and speaks with the artist about their creation.
The Grand Chalet: An interview with Setsuko
On the twentieth anniversary of Balthus’s death, Setsuko gives an intimate tour of the Grand Chalet and reflects on how the 1754 Swiss mountain home enriched their lives as artists.
Work in Progress
Adriana Varejão: In the Studio
Join Adriana Varejão at her studio in Rio de Janeiro as she prepares for her upcoming exhibition at Gagosian in New York. She speaks about the inspirations for her “tile” paintings, from Portuguese azulejos to the Brazilian Baroque to the Talavera ceramic tradition of Mexico, and reveals for the first time her unique process for creating these works.
A short story by Cleyvis Natera, published here on the occasion of the Quarterly’s collaboration with pen America.
The Art of Biography: Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, coauthors of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Willem de Kooning, speak with Michael Cary about the research and revelations that went into their forthcoming biography of Francis Bacon.
On Ming Smith: A Life of Magical Thinking
An interview by Nicola Vassell.
Sir David Adjaye OBE and Zoë Ryan
Architect David Adjaye discusses his archival project Adjaye Africa Architecture: A Photographic Survey of Metropolitan Architecture with Zoë Ryan, Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. For this decade-long project, published in seven volumes, Adjaye traveled to the capital city of every major African country to photograph the continent’s built environment.
Twombly and the Poets
Anne Boyer, the inaugural winner of the Cy Twombly Award in Poetry, composes a poem in response to Twombly’s Aristaeus Mourning the Loss of His Bees (1973) and introduces a portfolio of the painter’s works accompanied by the poems that inspired them.
A Day in the Life of The Lightning Field
In the first of a two-part feature, John Elderfield recounts his experiences at The Lightning Field (1977), Walter De Maria’s legendary installation in New Mexico. Elderfield considers how this work requires our constantly finding and losing a sense of symmetry and order in shifting perceptions of space, scale, and distance, as the light changes throughout the day.