The Oklahoma-born, Los Angeles-based artist Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) will enjoy his largest retrospective and his first solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in the fall and winter of next year. Appropriately enough, the exhibit, ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN, co-curated by MoMA and LACMA, will travel thereafter to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in association with Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director.
Spanning 65 years of Ed Ruscha’s career and cross-disciplinary approach, the exhibition will feature over 250 works, produced from 1958 to the present, in various mediums—including painting, drawing, prints, film, photography, artist’s books, and installation—displayed in a loose chronology.
Rusha, one of the most influential figures in postwar American art, has migrated subjects of interest across mediums—following, for example, an image of a Standard gasoline station from its small black-and-white reproduction in his self-published artist’s book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963) to the monumental, brightly rendered oil paintings made shortly after. These displays will also highlight the artist’s continual experimentation with unconventional materials and techniques, including drawings made with gunpowder, airbrushed paintings of enigmatic silhouettes, and vintage drum skins emblazoned with double negatives.
“OOF (1962, reworked 1963),” a painting in MoMA’s collection, depicts a one-syllable word with a bold shape and guttural sound that not only recalls the dynamic exclamations found in comic strips, but also highlights Ruscha’s acute understanding of design and typography — as well as his foundational and enduring interest in language for its plastic and sonic qualities.
ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN | MoMA (Sept 10, 2023 – Jan 6, 2024) LACMA (Apr 7 – Oct 6, 2024)
Ed Ruscha. Standard Station, Ten-Cent Western Being Torn in Half. 1964. Oil on canvas, 65 × 121 1/2” (165.1 × 308.6 cm). Private Collection, Fort Worth. © Edward Ruscha, photo © Evie Marie Bishop, courtesy of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Ed Ruscha. OOF. 1962 (reworked 1963). Oil on canvas, 71 1/2 × 67” (181.5 × 170.2 cm). Gift of Agnes Gund, the Louis and Bessie Adler Foundation, Inc., Robert and Meryl Meltzer, Jerry I. Speyer, Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro, Emily and Jerry Spiegel, an anonymous donor, and purchase. © Edward Ruscha, courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Imaging Services, photo Denis Doorly