19.75 х 29.25 in. cm.
Signed, and numbered on verso.
Ed Ruscha’s “Whiskey A-Go-Go” (1966-1995), is a fantastic example from one of the artist’s most acclaimed explorations in photography. In 1995, Ruscha selected six photographs taken along the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, California. Three originated with his 1966 Book “Every Building on the Sunset Strip” (of which “Whiskey A-Go-Go” is one), and three were shot later in 1976. Ruscha then produced 4 x 5 negatives that he scratched with a razor and sandpaper, emulating the streaking and flare-ups often seen on Film. By appropriating his own archival photographs, and then manipulating them to appear as though they are taken from film, Ruscha calls attention to the notion of history pictorially, in the artistic process, and in the medium itself. As Ruscha himself describes the 6 Sunset Strip works, “People look at those and they realize, ‘that looks like scratches on film,’ and yet in the future, when there is no more film, people will say “what’s that?” This work is a prime example of Ruscha’s sought after photographs, was shown in the 2006 exhibition “Ed Ruscha Photography”, and is reproduced full page in the beautiful accompanying monograph published by Steidl on page 218 (see image).
Ruscha continues to develop an archive of the entire Sunset Strip that dates back to the mid-late 60’s, and as of 2006 he had fully documented the strip 12 times. As Ruscha describes the project, “Originally, I recorded it as a piece of history. I had no idea I would be around this long, and so I thought, if I am, it might be worth it to go back and repeat this whole operation and see the changes, by comparison. It is a very democratic, unemotional look at the world…”
Edward Ruscha (1937), American Pop artist, was born in Nebraska and moved to Los Angeles in 1956 to study at the Chouinard Art Institute, intending to become a commercial artist. Quickly recognized in the 1960s as a major Pop artist and a successor of the beat generation for his collages and text-based pieces, Ruscha’s work was exhibited at the Ferus, Leo Castelli and Gagosian Galleries. As a painter, drawer, photographer and filmmaker, Ruscha is strongly influenced by the city of Los Angeles and by his initial interest in graphic arts, incorporating text and urban and western landscapes into his work. In humorous and ironic pieces, Ruscha comments on myths of American romanticism, commercial culture, and urban life. Ruscha sometimes uses unusual media in his work, including fruit and vegetable juices, blood, gunpowder, and grass stains, in works such as his Stains and series. In the 1980s his style became more mystical, as he worked with rays of light, constellations, and other celestial themes. Ruscha is best known for his witty and enigmatic use of text in his paintings, which he continues to incorporate into his works today. He has held several retrospectives in New York, Washington, D.C., London, and Paris, and was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001.