New York

Ed Ruscha

Castelli Graphics

One of the curious features of Ed Ruscha’s books is that in many cases the titles coincide with the moment of their conception, and precede their making on any level. Even in light of this, his drawings (1974–77) are somewhat bewildering, as they are the very titles of themselves before, during and after their execution. Similar to Bob Wilson’s scavenging of the environment (including T.V. and the papers) for lines to be used in his plays and much resembling Ruscha’s own photos, the “title” phrases are like snaps of expressions lifted from around him. As such, they are both unpretentious (familiar) and enigmatic (extracted from their original context). He isolates a detail from the regular flow of spoken and written language and expands (contorts, convolutes) its meaning by its very isolation as well as by pictorial means.

The scale of these everyday words blows up in size to standard

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