Edward Joseph Ruscha IV (roo-SHAY; born December 16, 1937) is an American artist associated with the pop art movement. He has worked in the media of painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, and film. Ruscha lives and works in Culver City, California.
Ruscha was born into a Roman Catholic family in Omaha, Nebraska, with an older sister, Shelby, and a younger brother, Paul. Edward Ruscha, Sr. was an auditor for Hartford Insurance Company. Ruscha’s mother was supportive of her son’s early signs of artistic skill and interests. Young Ruscha was attracted to cartooning and would sustain this interest throughout his adolescent years. Though born in Nebraska, Ruscha lived some 15 years in Oklahoma City before moving to Los Angeles in 1956 where he studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (now known as the California Institute of the Arts) under Robert Irwin and Emerson Woelffer from 1956 through 1960. While at Chouinard, Ruscha edited and produced the journal "Orb" (1959–60) together with Joe Goode, Emerson Woelffer, Stephan von Huene, Jerry McMillan, and others. Ruscha spent much of the summer of 1961 traveling through Europe. After graduation, Ruscha took a job as a layout artist for the Carson-Roberts Advertising Agency in Los Angeles.
By the early 1960s he was well known for his paintings, collages, and photographs, and for his association with the Ferus Gallery group, which also included artists Robert Irwin, John Altoon, John McCracken, Larry Bell, Ken Price, and Edward Kienholz. He worked as layout designer for Artforum magazine under the pseudonym “Eddie Russia” from 1965 to 1969 and taught at UCLA as a visiting professor for printing and drawing in 1969. He is also a lifelong friend of guitarist Mason Williams.
Ruscha 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.
While in school in 1957, Ruscha chanced upon then unknown Jasper Johns’ Target with Four Faces in the magazine Print and was greatly moved. Ruscha has credited these artists’ work as sources of inspiration for his change of interest from graphic arts to painting. He was also impacted by John McLaughlin's paintings, the work of H.C. Westermann, Arthur Dove’s 1925 painting Goin’ Fishin’, Alvin Lustig's cover illustrations for New Directions Press, and much of Marcel Duchamp’s work. In a 1961 tour of Europe, Ruscha came upon more works by Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, R. A. Bertelli’s Head of Mussolini, and Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais. Some critics are quick to see the influence of Edward Hopper's Gas (1940) in Ruscha's 1963 oil painting, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas. In any case, "Art has to be something that makes you scratch your head," Ruscha said.
Although Ruscha denies this in interviews, the vernacular of Los Angeles and Southern California landscapes contributes to the themes and styles central to much of Ruscha’s paintings, drawings, and books. Examples of this include the publication Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), a book of continuous photographs of a two and one half mile stretch of the 24 mile boulevard. In 1973, following the model of Every Building on the Sunset Strip, he photographed the entire length of Hollywood Boulevard with a motorized camera. Also, paintings like Standard Station (1966), Large Trademark (1962), and Hollywood (1982) exemplify Ruscha’s kinship with the Southern California visual language. Two of these paintings, Standard and Large Trademark were emulated out of car parts in 2008 by Brazilian photographer Vik Muniz as a commentary on Los Angeles and its car culture.
This is a part of the Wikipedia article used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). The full text of the article is here →