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
Through October 4, 2020
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas
This show features more than a dozen new works by Ed Ruscha painted on found drum heads. Ruscha sourced the paintings’ visual iconography and language from the American vernacular.
Ed Ruscha, I Don’t Hardly Disbelieve It, 2018 © Ed Ruscha
Through July 18, 2021
Tate Modern, London
This display reflects the range of Ed Ruscha’s practice, including paintings, prints, and photographic books, through artworks spanning sixty years of the artist’s career. Full of irony and humor, his works can often be interpreted as commentaries on American society.
Installation view, Ed Ruscha: Artist Rooms, Tate Modern, London, July 26, 2019–July 18, 2021. Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo © Tate (Oliver Cowling)
Opened November 1, 2018
The Broad, Los Angeles
An installation of sixteen works by Ed Ruscha is presented at the Broad. The museum is temporarily closed due to the ongoing health crisis.
Ed Ruscha, Angry Because It’s Plaster, Not Milk, 1965 © Ed Ruscha
September 26, 2020–January 3, 2021
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, California
This exhibition by Ed Ruscha includes rarely seen black-and-white photographs documenting the artist’s frequent trips from Los Angeles to Oklahoma in the 1960s, which reveal inspirations for his iconic prints and paintings, including images of gas stations, diners, and the streets of rural towns like Gallup, New Mexico, and Winslow, Arizona. Also featured are examples of his well-known word prints, including color lithographs that combine visual formality with playful language.
Ed Ruscha, Double Standard, 1966–69 © Ed Ruscha