Biography of Ed Ruscha
No other artist has been quite so successful at documenting America’s urban environment in all its beautiful banality as Ed Ruscha. Born in 1925, his immense collectability means that for years his work is near the top of the auction record-breaking sales. The artist’s ability to frame words, images, and landscapes in a deadpan context can be both funny and disquieting. Ruscha is also adept at using text in his paintings, employing the simple immediacy of language to full effect.
Ed Ruscha’s 16 photographic books made in the 60s and 70s distil popular culture—such as Hollywood logos and gas stations—into a cinematic language that is at once familiar and achingly profound. Ruscha defied categorization and could never be termed a Conceptualist or Pop artist although both movements have impacted his work. He was, however, a huge influence on subsequent Conceptual artists like Lawrence Weiner.
Editions and multiples have always been an important part of Ed Ruscha’s practice; the artist specializes in screenprints, lithography, and etching. He has been the subject of numerous retrospectives and represented the US at the 2005 Venice Biennial. Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting opened at the Haywood gallery in 2009. Ruscha is a luminary of the 20th century, a star of the Californian art scene with a huge international profile.