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Collection of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Edward Ruscha

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Edward Ruscha was born in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to Oklahoma City when he was five. After studing art in high school, Ruscha moved to Los Angeles and took classes in graphic design at Chouniard Institute and the Walt Disney school for animators (later CAL Arts). Among his influences are the Dada Movement and the paintings of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. His books "Twenty Six Gas Stations"(1963) and "Every Building on the Sunset Strip" (1966) underscored his interest in the every day aspects of contemporary American life. In the mid 1960s, under the pseudonym Eddie Russia, he was the designer for the contempory art magazine ARTFORUM. His prints and paintings of words and simple short phrases link Ruscha to both Pop Art and Post-Modernism. His hard edged, tightly rendered images, show a fascination with American trompe l'oeil paintings of the nineteenth century and photography.