press release

Course of Empire: Paintings by Ed Ruscha, the United States’ contribution to this year’s Venice Biennale, has its only presentation in the United States at the Whitney. A contemporary master and one of the most influential artists at work today, Ed Ruscha has redefined our vision of the American landscape. In this series of paintings, inspired by 19th-century American artist Thomas Cole's cycle The Course of Empire, Ruscha revisits his own 1992 series of five black-and-white Blue Collar paintings, making a new color picture in response to each of the original works. As described in a brochure written for the Venice exhibition, Ruscha. like Cole, "makes progress his subject. . . . But whereas Cole chronicles the ravages of an overcivilized culture on an untrammeled American landscape, Ruscha’s images quietly remark on how ‘change comes over things.’" A catalogue from the Venice presentation accompanies the exhibition.

This exhibition is presented in association with the Harvard University Art Museums.


Course of Empire: Paintings by Ed Ruscha