Just In! ‘Made in California’ by Ed Ruscha
Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1937, Ruscha moved to Los Angeles to study at Chouinard Art Institute in 1956. His work is admired for its unique synergy of commercial art techniques and deadpan depictions of popular culture and slogans. Often described as a Pop artist, Ruscha rose to prominence in 1962 after his inclusion in “New Painting of Common Objects,” the seminal exhibition of Pop art curated by Walter Hopps at the Pasadena Art Museum. Featured alongside artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Wayne Thiebaud, this important show catapulted Ruscha into the mainstream art consciousness. His work, which also includes painting, photography, and books, is characterized by its graphic simplicity, humorous wordplay, and striking imagery. He is known for his artistic experimentation, employing such unconventional materials as blood, blackberries, egg yolk, and chocolate in his works.
Among Ruscha’s most iconic and recognizable bodies of work are his word prints and paintings. Made in California (1971) is a particularly exceptional example, epitomizing the artist’s role as a chronicler of West Coast culture. Ruscha’s often ironic take on the dreams and promises of Hollywood is seen in the print’s claim–‘Made In California’–and could be interpreted as either sarcastic or celebratory, depending on the perspective of the viewer. Here the artist has opted for a vivid orange background and especially juicy typography. The plump rounded form and shine of the letters, trailing droplets in their wake, summons up associations with oranges, luster, vigor, and evokes such famous local place names as Orange County. This work embodies Ruscha’s reputation as the quintessential California artist.
Ruscha’s work is represented in most leading international public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.
Made in California
3-color screenprint on Arches paper
Published by Grunewald Graphic Arts
#10 of 100
Image/sheet: 20″ x 28″; Frame: 23.25″ x 31.25″
Initialed, dated, and with edition in graphite lower left sheet
Literature: Edward Ruscha: Editions, 1959-1999: Catalogue Raisonné. 1st ed. Vol II. S. Engberg and C. Phillpot. 1999. #52.
October 22, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction