Ed Ruscha: Standard

BCAM, Level 3
September 22, 2012–January 21, 2013

Ed Ruscha's influence can be seen in graphic design, cinema, architectural theory, and urban history. His art depicts everyday objects – gas stations, street signs, billboards, commercial packaging – yet often triggers philosophical reflection about the relationship between words, things, and ideas. The word “standard” is a case in point: it can be a banner or rallying point, an established level of quality, and an oil company’s brand name. In his depictions of Standard stations, Ruscha points to each of these definitions and more. LACMA's collection includes more than 300 works by Ruscha. This exhibition highlights generous donations of the artist's work over the years, and coincides with LACMA’s Fall 2012 Art + Film gala, honoring Ed Ruscha and Stanley Kubrick.

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Ed Ruscha (United States, born 1937) Standard Station, 1966. Screenprint Museum Acquisition Fund M.79.125 © 2012 Edward J. Ruscha IV. All rights reserved. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

Edward Ruscha (United States, born 1937)
Made in California
Edward Ruscha (United States, born 1937)
Edward Ruscha (United States, born 1937)
Actual Size
Edward Ruscha

Ruscha and Film

Ed Ruscha first drew the Hollywood sign in 1967. Since then, the familiar icon has appeared in many of his paintings, drawings, and prints. Although he has joked that the sign was “a smog indicator: If I could read it, the weather was OK,” its recurrence in his art hints at Ruscha’s deep, personal engagement with film and film culture...

Ed Ruscha and the Standard Gas Station

“It has to be called an icon; that’s the main thing about that painting…It became a motif for me to explore in other ways, too. I saw it as a loaf of bread; I saw it as several other things.”—Ed Ruscha on the painting Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas (1963) in 1981…