Ed Ruscha Then & Now: Paintings from the 1960s and 2000s

Saturday, Jan 30, 2016-Sunday, Apr 24, 2016
Ed Ruscha,
The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire
, 1965-1968, oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 133 1/2 in. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Smithsonian Institution. Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1972. Photo: Cathy Carver.
Ed Ruscha,
, 2001, acrylic on raw linen, 20 x 14 in. Courtesy of Private Collection. © Ed Ruscha .

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An innovator of West-Coast Pop and Conceptual Art, Ed Ruscha’s work defies and exceeds both categories, drawing upon popular media, commercial culture, and the landscape of Los Angeles. This tailored exhibition considers the artist’s use of recurring words, images, and themes across the decades. The iconic artist first gained attention in the 1960s for work that combines text and image with deadpan takes on American vernacular culture. The show is anchored by MCASD’s 1962 canvas Ace, and will highlight select works from the sixties alongside more recent canvases. The exhibition’s title, Then & Now, reworks the name of Ruscha’s recent artist book, which recreates photographs from his pivotal 1966 book, Every Building on The Sunset Strip. This exhibition, like the book, highlights Ruscha’s consistent attention to certain subjects and issues, rendering them in new ways and revealing their changes over time. The presentation builds upon MCASD’s long-standing relationship with Ruscha: the Museum’s collection holds 30 works by the artist, including the outdoor mural Brave Men of La Jolla (1995–1996).

This exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated publication with an introduction by exhibition curator and Deputy Director, Art and Programs, Kathryn Kanjo. The publication will include a selection of the 2005 essay by the late Richard Marshall, the bold and beloved art historian, who initially conceived the exhibition in collaboration with MCASD. Throughout his career, Marshall worked extensively with Ruscha, authoring two books on the Los Angeles artist.

Ed Ruscha Then & Now: Paintings from the 1960s and 2000s is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible by generous lead underwriting support from Pauline Foster. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.