Inspired by the symmetrical, Jeffersonian layout of the American Pavilion’s Neoclassical architecture, and by Thomas Cole’s cycle of the same name, Ed Ruscha installed this ten-painting exhibition titled Course of Empire at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Five pieces are painted in color and five in black and white. The artist paired each work from his 1992 Blue Collar series with a new color canvas depicting the future of the same urban landscape, some deteriorated, some growing and changing, some seemingly gentrifying. The exhibition will travel in 2006 to The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Essays from Linda Norden, the U.S. Commissioner for the Venice Biennale, and artist Frances Stark celebrate the work, while Joan Didion’s coolly written but deeply felt piece about her own brokenhearted longing for Los Angeles hits a perfect note.