Cover image for Ed Ruscha
Ed Ruscha
Marshall, Richard, 1947-2014.
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Phaidon, [2003]

Physical Description:
271 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6537.R87 M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Restlessly inventive, Ruscha has remained a step ahead and apart from the art trends and movements of his time. Pop Art, Conceptual Art, Surrealism, Photo-Realism, and today's renewed focus on painting resonate in a body of work that ultimately defies categorization. moved permanently to Los Angeles in 1956, where he studied at the Chouinard Art Institute until 1960. Side jobs in typography and layout, a revelatory trip to Europe, and influential encounters with Jasper Johns' art contributed to an artistic vision attuned to the prosaic look and language of popular culture. By the early 1960s Ruscha was well known for his paintings, collages and printmaking, and for his association with the Ferus Gallery group, which also included artists Robert Irwin, Edward Moses, Ken Price and Edward Kienholz. He later achieved recognition for his paintings incorporating words and phrases and for his many photographic books. chronologically concluding with his mirror mountains works (shown at the Gagosian Gallery in NY in spring 2002). This organization brings to light the surprising diversity of Ruscha's work, while at the same time showing the recurrence of themes and styles throughout his career. artist's painting, this book is first and foremost about the work. Rather than using the paintings to illustrate his text, Richard Marshall writes his text to illustrate the paintings. This is obvious in the design of the book, which allows the work to speak for itself in plate sections.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this lavish monograph, Marshall wastes no time making the familiar Pop Art connections between Ed Ruscha and his 1960s contemporaries; thumbnails of work by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol precede full-page reproductions of Felix the Cat, the Twentieth Century Fox trademark and a flying can of Spam. In uninflected, jargon-free prose, the former Whitney curator traces the artist's early trajectory from art school training to Abstract Expressionist experimentation to his full stride with iconic West Coast landscapes-the Hollywood sign, a Standard gasoline station-starkly rendered in popping color, hard edges, thrusting diagonals and vanishing horizons. Organized by subject matter, the volume quickly moves beyond 60s Pop, though Marshall continues to look backward, citing influences from Rene Magritte to Walker Evans. As later chapters explore "Single Words," "Bouncing Objects, Floating Things," "Thought and Phrases" and "Landscapes and Skies," a definite artistic agenda emerges. Whether in a limited edition book devoted to 34 parking lots, an oil painting of olives falling against a gradated background, or a pastel of the word "sex," Ruscha seeks to isolate objects-especially words-from their context; "Words are pattern-like... [t]hey are almost not words-they are objects that become words." Including a list of the nearly 400 words used over a period of 13 years, this monograph offers a comprehensive examination of a quintessentially American artist. 324 color illustrations (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

This retrospective monograph is the culmination of a longstanding collaboration between independent curator and critic Marshall and American artist Ed Ruscha (b. 1937), whose star is again on the rise. Marshall wastes no time delving into Ruscha's emergence on the West Coast pop art scene in the 1960s, linking his approach with that of contemporaries like David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, John Baldessari, and Andy Warhol as he traces the complex arc of Ruscha's prolific and still lively career. Ruscha's paintings, sketches, photographs, and screenprints-and their deadpan messages-remain front and center throughout this hefty and handsome catalog. Marshall's eight brief essays, discussing artist's books, language, historical perspectives, medium, landscape, and influence, never encroach on the bountiful images, including reproductions from Ruscha's humorous and lesser-known book projects. While Ed Ruscha offers a broad overview more than specific formal analysis, it still manages to honor and enrich the work of an important figure in 20th-century American culture. This is the most concise and up-to-date survey available on the artist, covering the broadest range of his career, and is therefore recommended for general libraries or as a starting point for more serious research.-Prudence Peiffer, Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Ruscha (born in 1937), a midwesterner, arrived in Los Angeles at age 19, studied painting and commercial art (1956-60) when concepts of pop art were formulated by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and others. Ruscha's 40-year career is chronicled in this book. A 1961 European visit, with its unfamiliar languages, prompted his interest in the recurring theme of words as abstract graphic objects. In each section--Ruscha creates in series--Marshall cites artists whose interests parallel those of Ruscha (such as Lichtenstein and Hockney and those who preceded or influenced him including Picasso and Stuart Davis, who introduced words in their compositions; surrealists Magritte, Duchamp, and Dali; and photographers Man Ray and Walker Evans) and then describes the works. Marshall draws on the popular culture of Los Angeles: signage, postcards, films, comics, gas stations, street and light grids, skies. Ruscha cherishes paradox and absurdity and sees himself as "a combination of someone who is an abstract artist and someone who deals with subject matter." Lavishly illustrations; list of exhibitions in the US and abroad; bibliography of articles and books about Ruscha. There is no discussion of the artist's patrons or of how he was received as his career developed. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. J. Poesch emerita, Tulane University