Ed Ruscha - Contemporary Art Part II New York Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; Jan-Erik Lowenadler, Stockholm

  • Literature

    This work will be included in the forthcoming Edward Ruscha Catalogue
    Raisonné of Works on Paper, Volume II 1970-1979, edited by Dr. Rainer Crone and
    Dr. Petrus Schaesberg

  • Catalogue Essay

    Perhaps more than any other contemporary painter, Ruscha’s work defies the
    traditional expectations and the developments in the recent history of the
    medium. Having grown up in a culture dominated by vernacular imagery and
    commercial art rather than painting and the fine arts, Ruscha struggled early
    in his career to find a place within a tradition that was not his own. Beyond
    its intrinsic value, the nontraditional, non-painterly work he completed from
    1963-1975 allowed Ruscha to keep an open mind about the types of activity in
    which an artist might legitimately engage. As he noted in 1982, “I like the
    idea that an artist should never be questioned about what he does, because
    he actually deserves this right of artistic license…. I’ve always felt like the
    number one rule is that there are no rules.” By insisting on this freedom and
    for many years rejecting the career path of a pure painter, Ruscha was able to
    liberate himself from a weighty and at times oppressive tradition. And in fact
    Ruscha’s prodigious activity with books, films, graphic design, and prints
    during these years all nourished his later work as a painter. Ironically, by
    eluding characterization as a painter Ruscha was able to free himself both
    from the tradition of recent painting and, eventually, from his own early work.
    It is often argued that the most important art of the contemporary period
    has been made by nonpainters, and that sculpture, photography, installation,
    and media-based work have provided broader and more productive avenues
    for invention. And yet painting maintains its special hold on the visual
    arts, in large measure because several of the best artists of our time have
    discontinued the formalist dialogue with the medium of painting.That direction
    in contemporary painting began, of course, with Johns and Rauschenberg,
    and it has been pursued with great wit and critical self-consciousness
    by Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and by European
    artists such as Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. Like them, Ed Ruscha has
    defied old assumptions by pressing painting into dialogue with diverse
    aspects of culture and not merely the culture of painting, thereby extending
    the medium beyond its former boundaries. Ruscha has become a painter
    of historical importance by channeling his frustration with the medium and
    its weighty tradition into work of the first order.
    K. Brougher, ed., Ed Ruscha,Washington D.C., 2002, pp. 154-155

  • Artist Biography

    Ed Ruscha

    American • 1937

    Ed Ruscha is an Los Angeles-based artist whose art, like California itself, is both geographically rooted and a metaphor for an American state of mind. A deft creator of photography, film, painting, drawing, prints and artist books, Ruscha has executed works for over 60 years that are simultaneously unexpected and familiar, both ironic and sincere.

    His most iconic works are poetic and deadpan, epigrammatic text with nods to advertising copy, juxtaposed with imagery that is either cinematic and sublime or seemingly wry documentary. Whether the subject is his iconic Standard Gas Station or the Hollywood Sign, a parking lot or highway, his works are a distillation of American idealism, echoing the expansive Western landscape and optimism unique to the post-war world.

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Pastel on paper.

14 1/4 x 22 3/4 in. (36.2 x 57.8 cm).

Signed and dated
“Edward Ruscha 1974” and numbered “D-208” on the reverse.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $193,000

Contemporary Art Part II

16 Nov 2007, 10am & 2pm
New York