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.
The Artist Spotlight series highlights individual artists, one at a time, over the course of one week. Launched in spring 2020 as a weekly platform, the series is now in its second season and is presented monthly as a regular part of the gallery’s programming. Each presentation features new online content, and artwork by the artist is made available with pricing information for forty-eight hours only.
Artist Spotlight: Ed Ruscha features five recent works on paper by the artist. A surprise offering by the artist will be revealed on Sunday, September 20. For more information, please contact the gallery at email@example.com.
Photo: Kate Simon
“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.
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.”
Course of Empire
Ed Ruscha sat down with Tom McCarthy and Elizabeth Kornhauser, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to discuss the nineteenth-century artist Thomas Cole, whose Course of Empire paintings inspired a series of works by Ruscha more than a century later.
Ed Ruscha and Joanne Northrup
Ed Ruscha sat down with JoAnne Northrup of the Nevada Museum of Art to discuss the exhibition Unsettled, which the two co-curated.
Ed Ruscha’s Burning Gas Station (1965–66) was a game changer. Text by Larry Gagosian.
Ed Ruscha: On the Highline
The High Line Art Program’s Cecilia Alemani discusses Ed Ruscha’s mural.
Custom-Built Intrigue: Drawings 1974–1984
May 6–June 30, 2017
980 Madison Avenue, New York
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
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)
Ed Ruscha has created a limited-edition print and an accompanying poster, titled EE-NUF!, to support the People for the American Way’s (PFAW) campaign ENOUGH of Trump. The design features a “fast track” display at how Trump has worked to destroy our democracy. PFAW is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity, and justice for all.
Ed Ruscha, EE-NUF!, 2020 © Ed Ruscha
America. Entre rêves et réalités
La collection du Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection
Through September 5, 2022
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Canada
Featuring more than a hundred paintings, photographs, sculptures, and video works drawn from the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, this exhibition, whose title translates to America. Between Dreams and Realities, offers a broad overview of modern and contemporary American art. Organized thematically, it looks carefully and critically at the notion of the American dream and uncovers how artists have variously grappled with questions of identity, the challenges of globalization, the realities of everyday life in America, and the complexities of its technological and political revolutions. Work by Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Sally Mann, Man Ray, Brice Marden, Nam June Paik, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Mary Weatherford is included.
Mary Weatherford, Engine, 2014, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
On the Edge
Los Angeles Art, 1970s–1990s, from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection
September 30, 2021–April 2, 2022
Bakersfield Museum of Art, California
This exhibition highlights 150 works from the collection of Joan and Jack Quinn, which was primarily amassed between the 1970s and the 1990s. Many of their holdings were collected directly from the artists and have never changed hands or been shown publicly. The artworks they were drawn to are defined by a spirit of nonconformity, a play of new materials, a celebration of light, and the “California cool” ethos. Work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frank Gehry, and Ed Ruscha is included.
Ed Ruscha, Double Standard #36/40, 1969 © Ed Ruscha
Artists Inspired by Music
January 30–February 13, 2022
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
To mark the thirtieth anniversary of Interscope Records, the company invited artists to select albums and songs from Interscope’s groundbreaking catalogue and fostered exchanges between artists and musicians to generate resonant pairings. The exhibition, which includes more than fifty works, brings an intergenerational group of visual artists into dialogue with iconic musicians from the last three decades, providing a fresh perspective on influential music for the present moment. Work by John Currin, Jennifer Guidi, Damien Hirst, Titus Kaphar, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, and Anna Weyant is included.
Jennifer Guidi, Seeking Hearts (Black MT, Pink Sand, Pink CS, Pink Ground), 2021 © Jennifer Guidi. Photo: Brica Wilcox
Hey! Did you know that art does not exist…
July 27, 2021–January 8, 2022
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel
This exhibition presents more than one hundred works from Sylvio Perlstein’s intensely personal collection, which traces artists and trends that have defined the avant-garde, complex, and experimental nature of twentieth-century art. Work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Duane Hanson, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Brice Marden, Ed Ruscha, Rudolf Stingel, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol is included.
Rudolf Stingel, Untitled, 2002 © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Alessandro Zambianchi