Edward Ruscha (born 1937)  is one of the most influential artists of our time.  Ruscha was born in Nebraska and moved to Los Angeles in 1956 to study at the Chouinard Art Institute, intending to become a commercial artist.


Ruscha has been heavily influenced by the city of Los Angeles and by his initial interest in graphic arts, incorporating text, urban imagery and Western landscapes into his work. Ruscha comments on myths of American Romanticism, commercial culture, and urban life in humorous and ironic pieces. Ruscha is best known for his witty and enigmatic use of text in his paintings, which he continues to incorporate into his works today. Ruscha continues to influence contemporary artists worldwide. His formal experimentations and clever use of the American vernacular continue to evolve in form and meaning as technology and internet platforms alter the essence of human communication. 


The first retrospective of Ruscha’s drawings was held in 2004 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ruscha represented the United States at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005) with Course of Empire, an installation of ten paintings. In 2018 Ruscha’s Course of Empire was presented at the National Gallery in London.


Related Works

  • Bruce Nauman is another master of text-based artwork, and has deeply influenced the evolution of conceptual art. View his work.
  • Frank Stella also tackles nautical themes in his epic series The Waves, albeit in an abstract mode. View his work.