A renowned Pop artist whose career spans over 50 years, Ed Ruscha is known for his ability to capture the cultural and physical landscape of Los Angeles in a wry, deadpan voice through his witty and enigmatic use of text and his uniquely West Coast visual vernacular. Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1937 and graduated from the Chouinard Art Institute in 1960.
“Art has to be something that makes you scratch your head,” Ruscha says. His work does indeed leave viewers mildly humored, somewhat confused, and slightly enamored. While the images evoke a sense of false nostalgia and are vivid, simple, and easy for the eye to feast upon, the texts make us aware of the ambiguity between the linguistic signifier and the object signified, leaving us with sensations of transience and uncertainty. Ruscha has also worked with unconventional materials such as gunpowder, Pepto-Bismol, blood, and various foods, further adding complexity to his subjects.
Ruscha has been the subject of numerous retrospectives at institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), and the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). He lives and works in Los Angeles.