They Called Her Styrene, Etc.
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Los Angeles-based artist Ed Ruscha, one of the seminal American artists of the past 30 years, is known for taking elements from the visual language of advertising and commercial art: he has made hundreds of 'word' prints, drawings and paintings that exhibit an interplay between bold letters and softly shaded, atmospheric backgrounds.
This book reproduces close to 600 'word' artworks by Ruscha, all of which characterize his artistic scope and identity. Assembled together in the form of a thick block, making the book and art 'object' in itself, these images become a sort of novel without an obvious plot: a series of words with no narrative but, rather, with a life of their own. Some of the works consist of only one word - great, mud, trust - and others of short combinations or phrases, such as Indeed I do, She Sure Knew Her Devotionals, Your Polyester People, That Housing Tract is Only Texture, and, of course, They Called Her Styrene.
In these works Ruscha's words transcend their apparent randomness to become visual icons of universal emotions and places known and imagined, exposing a dimension of multi-layered irony and threads of subtle and inventive social commentary. This volume embodies an aesthetically appealing compilation presented, in the manner of its content, with bold flair and bright colours: a book that simply cannot be left alone.Specifications:
- Format: Hardback
- Size: 123 x 185 mm (4 7/8 x 7 1/4 in)
- Pages: 580 pp
- Illustrations: 575 illustrations
- ISBN: 9780714840116
Ed Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1937 and moved to Los Angeles in 1956, excited by the newness, mobility and freedom represented by the southern Californian landscape. He studied commercial art at the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) in Los Angeles from 1956 to 1960.
Ruscha began making prints and drawings consisting of one word on an often monochromatic, abstract background in the late 1950s. Since then his work has been characterized by the exploration of language-based imagery. Ruscha's style is characterized by deadpan wit and cool understatement, which were developed further in his language-based prints and paintings that mark an axis between audacious Pop Art and introspective Conceptualism.
In the early 1970s, Ruscha began working with Cirrus Editions and Cirrus Gallery in Los Angeles, pursuing his interest in liquid words, unconventional ink substances (including chocolate, Pepto Bismol and caviar) and trompe l'oeil imagery. Throughout his career Ruscha has worked in a wide range of media - photography, graphic design, painting, drawing, printmaking and film. Ruscha's work continues to be exhibited at museums and galleries around the world.
"Ambiguous, often hilarious and with no narrative to explain their presence, the words become objects or landscapes all to themselves."—V magazine
"...The size and shape of a small, thick block - perfect for stocking-stuffing."—New York Magazine