Oklahoma Contemporary

Press Item

Ed Ruscha Exhibit Examines the Artist’s Oklahoma Roots

The Wall Street Journal • February 15, 2021
A white-haired man in casual clothes sits on a green couch with a black and white dog
Ed Ruscha in his Los Angeles studio. Photo by Aubrey Meyer (2015). Courtesy of Ed Ruscha and Gagosian.

Since finding fame in the mid-1960s, Mr. Ruscha’s wry works have been steadily collected by major museums like the Museum of Modern Art and have resold for as much as $53 million at auction. Yet until now, he has never had a solo museum show in Oklahoma, where he lived from age 5 to 18.

The scope of the exhibit reflects the ambitions of the nearly year-old, $30 million contemporary arts center, the first of its kind in a state that’s better known for producing country singers than contemporary art stars—an oversight made worse because so many artists like Mr. Ruscha felt compelled to move elsewhere to see and make cutting-edge art, said Jeremiah Davis, artistic director and the show’s co-curator. “Now, they can stay,” Mr. Davis added.

Alexandra Schwartz, who co-curated the show, said she and the artist re-examined the overlooked influence that Mr. Ruscha’s Catholic, middle-class upbringing had on his oeuvre and found some fresh connections. “He’s an artist who is so identified with L.A., but now it feels like he has double citizenship,” Ms. Schwartz said.

Full Article

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