SV Museum of Art reopens with Ed Ruscha show

Posted on March 18, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Artist Ed Ruscha “was to highways, service stations, and signage what Warhol was to soup cans.”

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art reopens with Ed Ruscha: Travel Log, an exhibition of books, prints and photographs by the world-renowned American artist.

The show opens to the public on April 1 (members have early access before then) and closes May 30. Admission is free through April.

The show features rarely-seen black and white photographs from Ruscha’s frequent trips between Los Angeles and Oklahoma in the 1960s, Route-66 Americana imagery from towns like Amarillo, Gallup, and Winslow.

Travel Log also features color lithographs from his well-known “word paintings” series that mix visual formality with playful language.  The exhibition also includes a rare installation of 51 framed prints that Ruscha illustrated with original, commissioned, and found photographs and juxtaposed with passages from Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel, On The Road.

Ed Ruscha was born in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska. After art school, his early paintings attracted notice as part of the Pop art movement of the 1960s; his work also has antecedents in Dada, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism, and would be central to Conceptual art.

Ruscha first traveled in 1956 to L.A. from his hometown of Oklahoma City. The then-modern elements of early highway culture were a fascination. He became, wrote Mark Rozzo in Vanity Fair, “to highways, service stations, and signage what Warhol was to soup cans.” Or, what David Hockney, another transplant beguiled by Los Angeles, was to So-Cal sun and swimming pools.

He went on to work in all artistic mediums — paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, artist’s books, and films, and is in the collections of major national and international museums. Ruscha still lives and works in L.A.

“We couldn’t be happier to open our doors again, especially with this exceptional exhibition of such a major artist,” said Linda Keaton, SVMA executive director. “We are grateful to the Sonoma community for supporting the Museum through the past year. SVMA will make every effort to provide a safe, COVID-responsible environment so that visitors feel as safe as possible while they are in the Museum.”

This exhibition is supported by Lori & Steve Bush, Sheila Martin-Stone, Leslie and Mac McQuown, Elaine & Graham Smith, and Sheila Wishek.

The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is located at 551 Broadway. Museum hours will be Wednesday through Sunday, noon- 4 p.m. Museum admission will be free for all until May 1.


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