ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN

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*The End*

Edward Ruscha. The End. 1991 375

Acrylic and pencil on canvas, 5' 10" × 9' 4" (177.8 × 284.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of UBS. © 2023 Ed Ruscha. Photo: Emile Askey

Curator, Ana Torok:  Ruscha remembers going to see black and white movies as a kid in Oklahoma City. In paintings from the early ‘90s, he takes an interest in the materiality of film itself, and makes a series of paintings where he depicts scratches on the film or little dust spots that have appeared on the celluloid surface. Here, in The End, we see the words in the title split horizontally, as if the film has malfunctioned in the projector.

Artist, Ed Ruscha:   I think what motivated me was memories of the cinema. Watching movies and watching scratches on the film, and those little pops that come here and there, and those little, what they call, “hairs in the gate,” always seemed real curious to me. I’ve always loved the way that the little zips go across the screen, but really it’s like I’m pointing out the flaws of cinema. Movie producers want to keep those scratches out of there. But I like them for what they are.

“THE END,” and all the implications that that brings along with it. I do think of this concept of finality, or the final curtain. But it doesn’t construe doom to me, or anything like that. It’s more like, “Hey, the movie is rolling to a stop.”

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