“When I got ready to leave Oklahoma,” Ed Ruscha said about LA, “I knew that it was swank and it sparkled and twinkled. You know, it just had some great magnetic attraction for me. I know that this would be a place to come to.”
Ed Ruscha has always loved Hollywood, and Hollywood has always loved Ed Ruscha, so it’s no wonder that his work is sought after in LA and that a film about him debuted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Another Ruscha for Leonardo DiCaprio
Ruscha donated a commissioned painting to a charity auction for Haitian relief, organized by Sean Penn. DiCaprio, who already owns some of Ruscha’s work, won the Ruscha with a bid of $125,000.
That’s a pretty penny, but considering the recent prices that Ruscha’s paintings and prints have been going for in recent years, DiCaprio got a good deal.
The record for a Ruscha painting is $30.4 million, which was sold at Christie’s New York in 2014, for his 1963 painting Smash. The art market has seen prices soar for Ruscha’s work. At least six of Ruscha’s paintings have sold for more than $3 million in the past two years.
Where is Rocky ll? Premiered at LACMA
The mystery of an Ed Ruscha work that may, or may not, exist is the subject of a film by screenwriter Pierre Bismuth. Bismuth, who won an Oscar for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, saw a 1979 BBC documentary about Ed Ruscha making a large, resin rock and placing it in the desert.
Bismuth was so intrigued by the documentary that he posed as a reporter at a 2009 London show of Ruscha’s work to ask him about Rocky ll. “You’ve done your homework,” Ruscha told Bismuth, “It’s out there, somewhere.” This admission by Ruscha led to Bismuth’s search for Rocky ll and his directing a film of the search.
Where Is Rocky ll? had its U.S. premier at the LACMA on January 13th. Bismuth hired a private detective to find the rock, which hasn’t been seen for nearly forty years.
No spoiler alerts here.
The President Gave the Gift of Ruscha…
During his years as President, Barack Obama gave prints of Ed Ruscha’s Column with Speed Lines to several world leaders.
The lithograph/screenprint is just one of thirty pieces that Ruscha and his wife, Danna, donated to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma.
To see more of Ed Ruscha’s work, available at VFA, please contact us.