artist / participant


press release

Hayward Gallery presents a major retrospective of Ed Ruscha's paintings, in celebration of his 50-year career. Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) is widely regarded as one of the world's most influential artists at work today and this exhibition traces the development of his paintings across five decades, from his contributions to Pop Art in the early 1960s to his paintings comprising words and phrases and his explorations of iconic American landscapes. Curated by Ralph Rugoff, the Director of the Hayward Gallery, the retrospective opens on 14 October to 10 January 2010 and will then travel to Haus der Kunst in Munich (12 February - 2 May 2010) and Moderna Museet in Stockholm (29 May – 5 September 2010).

Based in Los Angeles since the late 1950s, Ed Ruscha is recognised for his pioneering work in a variety of media, including painting, print-making, artist's books, photography and film. His influence on painting has been particularly significant and this exhibition reveals the wit and ceaseless experimentation that have distinguished his contributions to this medium. Over the course of his career, Ruscha has influenced cultural figures as diverse as artists Richard Prince and Anselm Kiefer, architect Robert Venturi and photographers Andreas Gursky and Jeff Wall. Presenting a total of 78 works on canvas, Ed Ruscha: 50 Years of Painting is the largest UK survey yet of Ruscha's output as a painter. The exhibition will reveal the full depth and breadth of his achievements, from his use of graphic design and filmic devices to his experimentation with unusual materials and formats. Many of the paintings in the show have never before been seen in the UK and have been lent by both public and private collections from around the world.

Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery and curator of this exhibition, said: 'Ed Ruscha is widely celebrated for the visual elegance and wit of his paintings, and this exhibition will also reveal his insistently experimental approach to the medium as well as his charged takes on the contemporary cultural landscape. Whether trafficking in ambiguity and absurdity or scanning signs of social decay and decline, his paintings address us in ways that are at once playful and profoundly disorienting, and they remain as provocative today as they first did half a century ago.'

Besides engaging with written language, Ruscha's paintings have recorded the shifting emblems of American life, in particular the vernacular of Southern California, in the form of classic Hollywood logos, stylised petrol stations and suburban landscapes. Often echoing the size of Cinemascope movie screens and billboards, these works constitute a shrewd and incisive portrait of American culture. Ruscha has produced some of the most memorable works of American art, including Standard Station (1966), Annie (1962), and Trademark with Eight Spotlights (1962), all of which will be on display.

Artist's Talk Ed Ruscha Monday 12 October A rare opportunity to hear a talk by the artist. Introduction by Hayward Gallery Director Ralph Rugoff.

Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting
Kurator: Ralph Rugoff

14.10.09 - 10.01.10 Hayward Gallery, London
12.02.10 - 02.05.10 Haus der Kunst
29.05.10 - 05.09.10 Moderna Museet Stockholm