Artist Spotlight: Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha talks about the cultural curiosities which fill his photography book series.

Born in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska, Edward Ruscha was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where his family moved in 1941. In 1956 he moved to Los Angeles to attend the Chouinard Art Institute, and had his first solo exhibition in 1963 at the Ferus Gallery. In 1973, Ruscha began showing his work with Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. He continues to live and work in Los Angeles, and currently shows with Gagosian Gallery.

Ruscha has consistently combined the cityscape of his adopted hometown with vernacular language to communicate a particular urban experience. Encompassing painting, drawing, photography, and artist’s books, Ruscha’s work holds the mirror up to the banality of urban life and gives order to the barrage of mass media-fed images and information that confronts us daily. Ruscha’s early career as a graphic artist continues to strongly influence his aesthetic and thematic approach.

Ruscha has been the subject of numerous museum retrospectives that have traveled internationally, including those organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1982; the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1989; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in 2000; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in 2002; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2004; the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2004; and the Jeu de Paume in 2006. In 2005, Ruscha was the United States representative at the 51st Venice Biennale. Recent exhibitions include “Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting” (organized by the Hayward Gallery, London, in 2009), “Ed Ruscha: Road Tested” (at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2011), and “On the Road” (organized by the Hammer Museum in 2011). “Reading Ed Ruscha” is currently on view at the Kunsthaus Bregenz until October 14.

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