Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, A, B, C, 1985–87, acrylic on canvas, three parts, each: 66 1/4 × 137 1/4 inches (168.3 × 348.6 cm) © Ed Ruscha. Photo by Paul Ruscha

Ed Ruscha Listed Exhibitions (Selected) (138 Kb)
Ed Ruscha Bibliography (Selected) (291 Kb)

Ed Ruscha’s photography, drawing, painting, and artist books record the shifting emblems of American life in the last half century. His deadpan representations of Hollywood logos, stylized gas stations, and archetypal landscapes distil the imagery of popular culture into a language of cinematic and typographical codes that are as accessible as they are profound. Ruscha’s wry choice of words and phrases, which feature heavily in his work, draw upon the moments of incidental ambiguity implicit in the interplay between the linguistic signifier and the concept signified. Although his images are undeniably rooted in the vernacular of a closely observed American reality, his elegantly 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 was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1937 and studied painting, photography, and graphic design at the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts). His work is collected by museums worldwide. Major museum exhibitions include the drawing retrospective “Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips®, Smoke and Mirrors,” which toured U.S. museums in 2004–05; “Ed Ruscha: Photographer,” Whitney Museum of American Art and the Musée National Jeu de Paume, Paris (2006); “Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting,” Hayward Gallery, London (2009; traveled to Haus der Kunst, Munich and Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 2010); “Ed Ruscha: Road Tested,” Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2011); “On the Road,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011); “Reading Ed Ruscha,” Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2012); “Ed Ruscha: Standard,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012; traveled to The Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA); “Ed Ruscha: Books and Paintings,” Brandhorst Museum, Munich, Germany (2013); “Ed Ruscha: Los Angeles Apartments,” Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2013); and “In Focus: Ed Ruscha,” The Getty Center, Los Angeles (2013).  A selection of Ruscha works is featured in “La Vie Moderne,” La Biennale de Lyon (2015–16).  “Ed Ruscha Then & Now: Paintings from the 1960s and 2000s” is on through April 24, 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. “Ed Ruscha and the Great American West” will open at the de Young Museum on July 16th, on view through October 9th, 2016.

“Ed Ruscha: Mixmaster,” an exhibition of Ruscha’s work shown alongside items from Turin’s local institutions was exhibited at the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli in Torino in 2015. Previously, Ruscha curated “The Ancients Stole All Our Great Ideas” at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2012), working from their art and natural history collections.

In 2012, Ed Ruscha was honored with Stanley Kubrick at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s second annual Art + Film Gala. 

The Edward Ruscha Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings consists of six volumes to date, which collectively document Ruscha’s complete painting practice from 1958–2003.  The Edward Ruscha Catalogue Raisonné of the Works on Paper Volume One: 1956–1976 was published in 2014. Additional volumes of both the Works on Paper and Paintings Raisonnés are forthcoming.