Urban Burps, 2018
Dry Pigment and Acrylic on Paper
27 x 36 cm
Ed Ruscha’s photography, drawing, painting, and artist books, record the shifting emblems of American life throughout the last half century. Inspired by the ironies and idiosyncrasies of life in Los Angeles, Ruscha’s work gained prominence in the 1960’s with his photographs of stylized gas stations, Hollywood logos, and vernacular landscapes. While imagery of popular culture would find lasting expression in his work, it is his paintings in which words and elliptical phrases play a central role that lead him to become one of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century.
For the past five decades, Ruscha’s work as an artist has been firmly rooted and centered at the intersection where text and images unite. His artist books are hailed as one of the first truly modern artist books and have been deeply influential among his contemporaries and following generations of artists. With artistic training rooted in commercial art, his work exhibits a strong graphic design sensibility and his collective oeuvre challenges traditional hierarchies between commercial and fine art as well as our assumptions about the function of words.
Ed Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1937 and he studied painting, photography, and graphic design at the Chouinard Art Institute. His work is collected by museums worldwide and major retrospectives of his work have been organized by the San Francisco MOMA in 1982-1983, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2004-2005), and in 2009 Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting opened at the Hayward Gallery, London, which traveled to the Haus der Kunst, Munich, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (both 2010). Ed Ruscha lives and works in Los Angeles.