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Ed Ruscha – Now Then: A Retrospective
Spanning 65 years of Ed Ruscha’s remarkable career and mirroring his own cross-disciplinary approach, Ed Ruscha / Now Then features over 250 objects, produced from 1958 to the present, including paintings, drawings, prints, films, photographs, artist’s books and installations. Published to accompany the most comprehensive presentation of the artist’s work to date, and his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, this richly illustrated catalog highlights Ruscha’s most acclaimed works alongside lesser-known aspects of his practice.
Essays by an interdisciplinary group of contributors examine Ruscha’s work under a new light, beyond the categories of Pop and Conceptual art with which he has traditionally been associated, to present fresh perspectives on one of the most influential figures in postwar American art. Taken together, they underscore Ruscha’s singular contributions, including his material exploration of language, experiments with unconventional mediums―such as gunpowder, chocolate or chewing tobacco―and his groundbreaking self-published books. Supplemented by an illustrated chronology & exhibition history, this publication captures the ceaseless reinvention that has defined his prolific, six-decade career.
Ed Ruscha (born 1937) was raised in Oklahoma City and moved to Los Angeles in 1956, where he attended the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts). First showing with the Ferus Gallery in the early 1960s, Ruscha was included in Walter Hopps’ landmark Pop art show New Painting of Common Objects at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1962. He has since shown his work extensively, most recently in several medium-specific museum surveys, including the 2004 exhibition Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips®, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the 2009 exhibition Ed Ruscha:Fifty Years of Painting.