Date 1988 - 1989
Medium Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions 121.9 x 121.9 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-505
Ed Ruscha’s life is the archetypal biography of the Southern Californian, leaving Oklahoma where he was born and rolling out West on Route 66. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1956, and enrolled in the Chouinard Art Institute, the present-day Cal Arts, which at the time was the training school for the animators of Disney Studios. He experienced the effervescence of LA during this era, absorbing the influence of this environment and its urban billboards: ‘Pop comes from the word popular, and manufactured popular culture is what has inspired me from the start, and inspires me still.’ To understand Ed Ruscha’s work, one must see the metropolis of Los Angeles as defined by the automobile and by urban signage. Ruscha’s interest in letters and language is a constant in his work. Yve-Alain Bois noted that Ruscha made poetic use of the letter, very striking in this work, which plays on the Oldsmobile brand, detaching the word ‘Old’, used in the plural in the title. Ruscha, who received the late honour of being selected for the Venice Biennale in 2005, has always remained attached to the form known as traditional. ‘I am a victim of the power of the quadrilateral rectangle’, he states ironically. J-FC