Ed Ruscha: OKLA
Feb. 11-July 5, 2021
In 2021, Oklahoma Contemporary will present Ed Ruscha: OKLA, a landmark survey of work by Oklahoma-raised, world-renowned artist Ed Ruscha.
Featuring objects spanning the artist’s 60+ year career that explore his relationship to Oklahoma, Ed Ruscha: OKLA will present iconic pieces such as Twentysix Gasoline Stations and Chocolate Room alongside newer, lesser-known bodies of work, including two recent Drum Skins paintings. The exhibition will include 70+ works across media, ranging from paintings and a large-scale installation to drawings, prints, books, photos and film. Ed Ruscha: OKLA is both the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work presented in the city of his childhood, and the first ever to explore the influence Oklahoma has had in forming the artist’s aesthetic sensibility.
Oklahoma looms large in Ruscha’s work, as a source of inspiration and as a foundation on which his unique perspective on America was first formed. In 1955, he embarked on the first of many road trips -- frequently referenced in his art -- from Oklahoma to Los Angeles to begin his artistic career. Ruscha has repeatedly been quoted in the years since saying everything he’s done was already part of him when he left Oklahoma at 18. Ed Ruscha: OKLA is the first exhibition to examine the ways in which the visual culture and language of his upbringing provided ongoing inspiration throughout his artistic career.
The exhibition is co-curated by Alexandra Schwartz, a New York-based independent curator who has written extensively about Ruscha's work, in coordination with the team at Oklahoma Contemporary and the artist and his studio.
Ed Ruscha: OKLA is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.
Images: Ed Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations from Book Covers, 1970. UBS Art Collection © Ed Ruscha. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Ed Ruscha at the Governor's Arts Awards in 2015. Ruscha was named an Oklahoma Cultural Treasure.