Ed Ruscha is one of the most influential and pioneering American artists of the past half-century. He has forged a richly experimental approach to painting by drawing on his interests in printed matter, graphic design, cinema, photography and the flattened cultural landscape of the American West. While his painting has been consistently distinguished by its acute wit and visual elegance, Ruscha has repeatedly reinvented his artistic vocabulary throughout his career, creating substantial new bodies of work in each decade. Indeed, at one time or ather during the past fifty years, he has been alternatively celebrated as one of the first Pop artists; a forerunner of Conceptualism; a latter-day Surrealist; a conceptual landscape painter; and, a pioneer of Postmodernism whose use of language as subject matter has been ermously influential. The breadth and originality of his work continues to elude our attempts to categorise it, but this survey offers a larger framework for reconsidering the extraordinary rigour and vitality of his art. This lavishly illustrated book includes new texts by James Ellroy, Ralph Rugoff, Alexandra Schwartz, Bruce Wagner and Ulrich Wilmes, together with an interview with the artist by Kristine McKenna, an illustrated chrology and an exhibition history.
James Ellroy is an American crime fiction writer and essayist. His novels include 'L.A. Confidential' and 'The Black Dahlia'. Ralph Rugoff is Director of the Hayward Gallery, London. Alexandra Schwartz is the editor of 'Leave Any Information at the Signal' a collection of Ruscha's writings and interviews. She is a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Bruce Wagner is an American writer, actor, producer and director based in Los Angeles. Ulrich Wilmes is Senior Curator at Haus der Kunst, Munich. Kristine McKenna is a Los Angeles-based writer who has written extensively on Wallace Berman and West Coast Beat culture.