Ed Ruscha has been one of the most influential American artists since the 1950s; his groundbreaking work has shaped our understanding of contemporary art. Disavowing the gestural painting of American abstract expressionism, he devised a creative practice between minimalism, Pop art, and conceptualism. Research, innovation, and experimentation as well as the emphasis on critical reason rather than emotional involvement define his style.
With works like Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963) and Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1965), Ruscha put his stamp on the history of twentieth-century art. Taking sober-minded photographs and arranging them in indexical sequence in meticulously designed and self-published artist’s books, he compiled catalogues of life in Los Angeles and on the American West Coast that made him a pioneer of conceptual art. Ruscha’s paintings, which constitute the bulk of his oeuvre, stand out for their formal austerity and rigor and his abstention from gestural and expressive forms. The American West and Los Angeles are his primary sources of motifs, which usually appear in combination with painted words or sentences.