Ed Ruscha

VACANT LOTS . 1970/2003

+ SPRÜTH MAGERS BERLIN . patrick painter inc

Since the early 1960s, Ed Ruscha has created an extensive painterly, graphical, and photographic oeuvre. Ruscha first considered working as a graphic artist but soon developed a deep passion for painting and photography. Inspired by the American photography of the 1940s and 1950s, Ruscha developed an independent conceptual approach which is manifested in the sixteen photo-books, created between 1963 and 1978, in which he offered a fresh interpretation of the idea of the artist's book. These small, unpretentious books, which Ruscha always issued in a limited edition, anticipated with their titles in a laconic manner the entire contents of the books, for example Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963); Various Small Fires and Milk (1964); Some Los Angeles Apartments (1965); Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) as well as Thirtyfour Parking Lots in Los Angeles (1967) or Nine Swimmingpools and a Broken Glass (1968). They show how Ruscha broke away from the traditions of the genre and simultaneously distanced himself from the subjectivist, analytical photo-books of such author-photographers as Robert Frank and Walker Evans. Coming to the fore here, instead of pictorial sequences ordered according to formal and contentual critiera, was a serial arrangement in which the disregard of classical conventions of photography, namely the requirements of perspective and composition, became a characteristic of his photographic aesthetic. Ruscha's pictures map out the redundant appearance of the West Coast civilization of the USA through the monotony and repetitiveness of the series.

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