June 12-September 5, 1999
EDWARD RUSCHA: EDITIONS 1959-1999
Galleries 1, 2, and 3
For 40 years, Edward Ruscha has been an influential voice in postwar American painting as well as one of contemporary art's most significant graphic artists. Edward Ruscha: Editions 1959-1999 is a major retrospective of the artist's prints, books, and graphic works and the first full-scale museum presentation of this material since the 1970s.
From his first prints and artist's books made in the early 1960s to his latest projects, Ruscha has created a body of editioned work that is uniquely American in both subject and sensibility. He first began making prints in the late 1950s, and produced his first lithograph in 1962, which was soon followed by his landmark book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Containing 26 color and black-and-white photographs of filling stations on Route 66 between Los Angeles and Oklahoma City, the book was like nothing the art world had seen before. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Ruscha continued to publish similar books, filled with photographs depicting commonplace items or locations that commented on the sterility and anonymity of the Los Angeles landscape. These works are now considered pivotal in the history of the contemporary artist's book. A complete presentation of Ruscha's publications is on view in the exhibition.
The exhibition also includes a comprehensive view of Ruscha's print projects produced and published in collaboration with a wide range of international graphics workshops. His prints resonate with his signature blend of Pop, Surrealist, and Conceptual ideas, often depicting words as both subject and object. Ruscha's mixture of the playful and mundane with the cinematic can be found in prints that feature such emblems of popular culture as the Hollywood sign atop the hills of Los Angeles, or the Standard gasoline station. Other works show his love of humor and the unexpected, with images rendered in such substances as spinach and Pepto-Bismol in place of traditional printing inks. Later prints feature ordinary objects floating in enigmatic voids of lush color.
In addition to the prints and books, the exhibition includes a section on Ruscha's activity in the larger arena of media, featuring projects he has created for art magazines, book and album covers, and posters. A centerpiece of the presentation is the artist's Chocolate Room, a reconstruction of an installation first created for the 1970 Venice Biennale, in which gallery walls are covered in sheets of paper screenprinted with chocolate.
The exhibition is accompanied by a two-volume, full-color, boxed catalogue raisonné that documents Ruscha's editioned work to date. It features essays by exhibition curator Siri Engberg and independent artist's-book curator-critic Clive Phillpot. Available in the Walker Art Center Shops. Boxed hardcover: $85 ($63.75 Walker members).
JULY RELATED EVENTS
SUNDAY TOUR: TEXT/IMAGE
TOUR AND DISCUSSION: SIX DEGREES OF ED RUSCHA
LAB FOR ADULTS
NEW ART LAB INSTALLATION:
IF NOT THIS
JUNE RELATED EVENTS
PARTY + WALKER AFTER HOURS
ARTIST'S TALK WITH EDWARD RUSCHA
SUNDAY TOUR: LIKE AN OPEN BOOK
ED AND EDWARD: THE POLITICS OF AMERICAN
EDWARD RUSCHA: EDITIONS 1959-1999 IS MADE POSSIBLE BY GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM LANNAN FOUNDATION, DAYTON'S FRANGO® FUND, THE ELI BROAD FAMILY FOUNDATION, GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO., AND THE DOUGLAS S. CRAMER FOUNDATION. THE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE RICHARD FLORSHEIM ART FUND. OPENING-WEEKEND EVENTS ARE SUPPORTED IN PART BY CHRISTIE'S.