This highly anticipated book—the first in a series of three—comprehensively chronicles the first two decades of Ed Ruscha’s (b. 1937) work on paper, which comprises the largest component of his production of original works. Over 1,000 works on paper are documented, all created between 1956 and 1976, and they encompass a wide range of formats, materials, themes, and styles. Included are collages, ephemeral sketches, preparatory studies for paintings, oil on paper works, and drawings executed in a variety of inventive materials, including gunpowder and organic substances.
Ruscha came to prominence in the early 1960s as part of the Pop art movement, although his work equally engages the legacies of Dada, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism as well as the Conceptual art that emerged later in the decade. He has long enjoyed international standing and admiration, and his work is widely known. Despite this recognition, this volume contains hundreds of works that have infrequently, or never, been exhibited or published. Each work is catalogued with a color reproduction, collection details, full chronological provenance, exhibition history, and bibliographic references. Essays by Lisa Turvey and Harry Cooper complete this extraordinary survey, which expands and enriches our understanding of Ruscha’s pioneering exploration of the written word as a subject for visual art and his witty assessment of the iconography of Los Angeles, both real and imagined.