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Edward Ruscha

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Edward Ruscha
Contemporary (post 1945) Graphic Arts
(Omaha, NE, November 16, 1937 - )

Los Angeles-based artist Ed Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on November 16, 1937. He moved to Oklahoma City, then, in 1956, to Los Angeles, where he attended the Chouinard Art Institute. While a student, Ruscha was strongly influenced by Abstract Expressionism. By the early 1960s, Ruscha was working in Pop Art. Two of his early works, ‘Annie’ (1961) and ‘Standard Station’ (1963), are regarded as Pop icons. By the early 1970s, Ruscha’s work displayed a decidedly Conceptualist bent, incorporating visual and verbal puns. Ruscha gave words physical form, then isolated and subtly reshaped them to give them new layers of meaning. Pomona College’s ‘Hollywood’ (1971) is an example of this technique. Later, Ruscha became interested in the decay of language. His silhouette series is darker in tone than his earlier work, and these paintings include empty boxes where text may once have been. Ruscha’s flexibility as an artist extends to his use of format and media. In addition to painting, he has produced numerous books of documentary photography and two 16mm films. Ruscha’s media include gunpowder, food, blood, and even Pepto-Bismol. He has had at least 100 solo exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Additionally, major retrospectives of his work have traveled to such cities as New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and London.

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