Ed Ruscha was drawn to Hollywood like a moth to a flame. He moved to LA in 1956, at the age of nineteen, and still lives and works in Culver City. Once the glamorous headquarters of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studios, Culver City still attracts movie makers who want to film in the residential areas, where the nostalgic architecture has not changed in many decades. That Hollywood imagery seeped into Ruscha’s consciousness, and onto his canvasses, is no surprise.

The Mountain Series

Some of Ruscha’s most recognizable, and memorable works, are part of The Mountain Series, based on the Paramount Pictures logo. The original Paramount Pictures logo is the oldest surviving Hollywood film logo. It has been reworked over the years, but the mountain and sky, shown before the opening credits, are easily identifiable to movie goers.

Ruscha uses the mountain background overlaid with quips done with his own font, which he calls Boy Scout Utility Modern, to create works that inspire a range of emotions. “Good art,” he said, “should elicit a response of ‘Huh? Wow!’ as opposed to ‘Wow! Huh?’” History Kids, for sale at Vertu, elicits the perfect response.

Good art should elicit a response of ‘Huh? Wow!’ as opposed to ‘Wow! Huh?’”

Ed Ruscha in Scotland

In 2015, Ruscha announced that he would donate one copy of every print he makes for the rest of his life to Tate, the umbrella organization that oversees the Tate Museums. As part of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival, in conjunction with the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, The Tate has put together an exhibit of Ruscha’s work called Music from the Balconies: Ed Ruscha and Los Angeles.

The title refers to Ruscha’s 1984 painting, The Music from the Balconies. The text in the painting, The music from the balconies nearby was overlaid by the noise of sporadic acts of violence, comes from the 1975 novel High-Rise, written by Ruscha’s friend, English novelist J.G. Ballard. The novel chronicles the moral and social breakdown of life in a luxurious apartment building. Ruscha said, ‘the phrase was a powerful thought coupled with a pictorial idea that ends in a gentle kind of clash”.

There is no mountain in painting, just prairie land, and what looks like an old Hollywood Technicolor sky. The collection of Ruscha’s works will be on display through April 2018.

Ed Ruscha at Vertu

We have a diverse collection of works by Ed Ruscha available in our gallery. Please contact us for more information about History Kids or any of the other work for sale at Vertu.

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