Edward Ruscha. Thick Blocks of Musical Fudge. 1976. Dry pigment on paper, 23 1/8 × 29" (58.7 × 73.7 cm). Gift of Robert Rauschenberg. © 2020 Edward Ruscha

Art sometimes runs in the family. Edward and Eddie Ruscha, who often talk about music together, have each shared a playlist with us, featuring some of their favorite tracks.

While Edward Ruscha’s art needs no introduction, the influence music has played on his work is less well known. He recalled in 1985 that it was Spike Jones, the musician famous for including surprising noises such as gunshots and cowbells in his recordings, who “opened [his] eyes to the raw power of things that made no sense.” And it might not be an overstatement to say that Ruscha extended some of the disruptive qualities found in sound to the words, phrases, typefaces, and imagery appearing in his work.

Eddie Ruscha, a painter in his own right, has produced music over the years on both solo projects—recently as E Ruscha V and Secret Circuit—and collaborations, including his latest, Doctor Fluorescent, which is featured on his father’s playlist. In describing his 2018 album Who Are You, he explained, “I wanted something that wasn’t particularly background music, but something you could live with throughout the day.” What more can you ask for in today’s world?

—Christophe Cherix, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints

A playlist by Edward Ruscha

“Smoke Rings,” a playlist by Eddie Ruscha