Books and Paintings
The oeuvre of the American artist Ed Ruscha (born 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska) is difficult to categorize. On the one hand, his early depictions of company logos, gas stations and department stores– based on his recourse to signs and cliché images from mass production and everyday culture–are attributed to Pop Art. On the other, based on his painted word pictures and published prints of photographic images, he is primarily perceived as a conceptual artist. Thus the 1962 book Twentysix Gasoline Stations, a photo series of 26 gas stations along the highway from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City, is considered his first conceptual photographic project. On the Road, 2009, a configuration of text and photos after Jack Kerouac–s 1957 novel of the same name, is among the most elaborate productions of this type of work complex. If his photo series document the popularity of everyday architecture, the pictures–in which text and image are intersected or superimposed–unmask the banality and the thematic emptiness of the emblems of the commercial and advertising world.
The work complex of painted or overpainted books as well as the depictions of old volumes with empty pages can be seen as the artist–s commentary on the book as a potential carrier of information. At the same time, they point to the information overload that today–s reader is subject to. Ed Ruscha–s books, photographs and pictures from the Udo and Anette Brandhorst collection in Munich are here introduced to the public for the first time.