Ed Ruscha


Ed Ruscha
On The Road
Artist book of the novel by Jack Kerouac, from the edition of 350 signed and numbered copies, published by Gagosian Gallery and Steidl, 2009
15 1/8 x 36 11/16 x 1 5/16 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery
Executive Director’s Pick

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“Surely Jack Kerouac would have enjoyed the sheer coolness of Ed Ruscha’s visual accompaniment to his great novel. The American highway has been a theme in Ruscha’s art since he made his first big road trip from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles in 1956. A few years ago I saw a wonderful exhibition about this called Ed Ruscha: Road Tested.”
— Dr. Malcolm Warner, Executive Director

Ed Ruscha is among the most celebrated figures in American Pop Art and arguably its leading exponent on the West Coast. His paintings, photography, drawings, prints, and artist books record favorite emblems of modern American life—from gas stations to the Hollywood sign—in a cool, deadpan style. He is inspired by the idiosyncrasies of life in Southern California and in much of his work combines images and words, often catchy colloquial and consumerist phrases. Given his obsession with the imagery of the highway, it is not surprising that Ruscha feels a deep kinship with Jack Kerouac, whose On the Road (first published 1957) was the counterculture bible of the Beat Generation. He designed this leather-bound, 228-page, limited-edition artist book version of the novel and included fifty-five black-and-white photographs that he made, commissioned, or appropriated to complement Kerouac’s text; they are printed on Fuji Crystal Archive Paper and tipped-in by hand.

Selected collections
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Selected exhibitions
Ed Ruscha and the Great American West, de Young Museum, San Francisco, 2016
In Focus: Ed Ruscha, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2013
On the Road, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2011
Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips®, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2004