“I don’t have any Seine River like Monet,” Ed Ruscha once said. “I’ve just got US 66 between Oklahoma and Los Angeles.” ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN features over 200 works—in mediums including painting, drawing, prints, photography, artist’s books, film, and installation—that make use of everything from gunpowder to chocolate. Exploring Ruscha’s landmark contributions to postwar American art as well as lesser-known aspects of his more than six-decade career, the exhibition offers new perspectives on a body of work that has influenced generations of artists, architects, designers, and writers.
In 1956, Ruscha left his hometown of Oklahoma City and drove along interstate highway 66 to study commercial art in Los Angeles, where he drew inspiration from the city’s architecture, colloquial speech, and popular culture. Ruscha has recorded and transformed familiar subjects—whether roadside gasoline stations or the 20th Century Fox logo—often revisiting motifs, sites, or words years later. Tracing shifts in the artist’s means and methods over time, ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN underscores the continuous reinvention that has defined his work.
The exhibition is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The MoMA presentation is organized by Christophe Cherix, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints, with Ana Torok, The Sue and Eugene Mercy, Jr. Assistant Curator, and Kiko Aebi, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints. The LACMA presentation (April 7–October 6, 2024) is organized by Christophe Cherix, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints, MoMA and Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, LACMA, with Ana Torok, The Sue and Eugene Mercy, Jr. Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA, Kiko Aebi, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA, Rebecca Morse, Curator, Wallis Annenberg Photography Department, LACMA, and Deliasofia Zacarias, Executive Assistant & Director’s Office Fellow, LACMA.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.