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Edward Ruscha. Annie. 1962 360

Oil and pencil on canvas, 71 1/2 × 67" (181.6 × 170.2 cm). Collection Larry Gagosian. © 2023 Ed Ruscha. Photo Robert McKeever, New York, courtesy Gagosian

Artist, Ed Ruscha: I’m Ed Ruscha and I’m an artist who lives in Los Angeles, California.

I left Oklahoma City where I grew up and I came to California to go to art school. I thought I wanted to be a sign painter. And then I had an idea that I wanted to work in graphics somehow or advertising and then I centered my studies in painting and drawing and printmaking.  

Curator, Ana Torok: My name is Ana Torok. I’m an Assistant Curator of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art.

Ruscha’s earliest exposure to art making was through a neighbor that introduced him to cartooning. Here he zooms in on the word “Annie” from the title of a comic strip, Little Orphan Annie.

Designer, Gail Anderson: My name is Gail Anderson and I am a designer.

The Annie type is a little bubbly, ooey-gooey. It’s red, it’s got a big black outline, the dot on the I is playful. It makes you smile. That's the stuff that you’re looking at as a young budding artist, looking at your comic books.

Ana Torok: ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN spans 65 years of Ruscha’s practice.

He has experimented with so many different media: paintings, drawings, prints, artists books and sometimes he’ll use materials that are unexpected, like chocolate or gunpowder. I think the theme running through every gallery of this exhibition is the close attention that Ruscha pays to ordinary aspects of his surroundings. The beautiful thing is that because he draws so heavily from the world around him, there’s always a way into the work.