Ed Ruscha

Artist (painter)
Humanities and Arts
Visual Arts

Painter, printmaker, creator of books, and filmmaker. Associated with the Pop Art movement. Figure in contemporary American art. Has been exhibited internationally for three decades and is represented in major museum collections throughout the world. Achieved recognition for paintings incorporating words and phrases and for his many photographic books, all influenced by the deadpan irreverence of the Pop Art movement. His textual, flat paintings have been linked with both the Pop Art movement and the beat generation. In 1962, Ruscha's first book, "Twentysix Gasoline Stations," revolutionized the genre of artists' books. He is often credited with establishing the way modern artists' books are conceived, designed and consumed. In 1962 Ruscha's work was included, along with Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Dowd, Phillip Hefferton, Joe Goode, Jim Dine, and Wayne Thiebaud, in the historically important exhibit "New Painting of Common Objects," curated by Walter Hopps at the Pasadena Art Museum. Photography has played a crucial role throughout Ruscha's career, beginning with images he made during a trip to Europe with his mother and brother in 1961, and most memorably as the imagery for more than a dozen books that present precisely what their titles describe. His Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), is a book of continuous photographs of a two and one half mile stretch of the 24-mile boulevard. He later photographed the entire length of Hollywood Boulevard with a motorized camera (1973). Paintings like Angry Because It's Plaster, Not Milk (1965) and Strange Catch for a Fresh Water Fish (1965) are exemplary works from Ruscha's mid-1960s paintings that take the strict idea of literal representation into the realm of the absurd. Ruscha has received honorary degrees from the California College of the Arts (2001), Rhode Island School of Design (2008), and the San Francisco Art Institute (2009). In 2004 he was elected an Honorary Royal Academician of London's Royal Academy of Arts.


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