Ed Ruscha is among the most innovative artists of the last forty years. He is also one of the first Americans to introduce a critique of popular culture and an examination of language into the visual arts. Although he first made his reputation as a painter, Ruscha is also celebrated for his drawings (made both with conventional materials and with food, blood, gunpowder, and shellac), prints, films, photographs, and books. He is often associated with Los Angeles as a Pop and Conceptualist hub, but tends to regard such labels with a satirical, if not jaundiced, eye. Indeed, his work is characterized by the tensions between high and low, solemn and irreverent, and serious and nonsensical, and it draws on popular culture as well as Western art traditions. Leave Any Information at the Signal not only documents the work of this influential artist as he rose to prominence but also contains his writings and commentaries on other artistic developments of the period. The book is divided into three parts, each of which is arranged chronologically. Part one contains statements, letters, and other writings. Part two consists of more than fifty interviews, some of which have never before been published or translated into English. Part three contains sketchbook pages, word groupings, and other notes that chart how Ruscha develops ideas and solves artistic problems. They are published here for the first time. The book also contains more than eighty illustrations, selected and arranged by the artist.
Born in Nebraska in 1 937, Ed Ruscha has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1956. His works have been exhibited in the collections on the most important museums world wide and his activity, in continuous evolution for more than forty years, has deeply influenced various generations of artists for many of which Ruscha is a reference model and a source of inspiration for the research of new techniques and experiments. Ed Ruscha is a synonym of Los Angeles. Roads and highways, parking lots, gasoline stations, palms, swimming pools, residential areas and Hollywood Glamour are, in fact, the repeated reference points of his works. His artistic production interweaves different forms of expression that go from Pop to Conceptual Art, from Abstraction to Realism, experimenting the most various techniques and using, in some works on pa per, the most unusual materials (gun powder, boiled flowers, chocolate, tincture of iodine, spinach, blood, egg yolk), as well as acrylic and pastels. Central in the artistic route of Ruscha is the relationship between visual and verbal control. Dominating in his work is, in fact, the use of language, explored, in its evocative power, with subtle and inexpressive irony, from single words to slogans (token from newspapers, dictionaries, rood signs, film and radio conversations) to enigmatic word games whose meaning remains deliberately evasive. This book goes along with the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the artist in Italy at the MAXX I – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome (1st July-3rd October 2004), coproduced with the MCA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
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