“I’ve always been intrigued by oblique perspectives, like aerial views. There’s something about the tabletop … taking a viewer up in the air, so you can look down from an angle.” – Ed Ruscha
Yancey Richardson presents a series of seminal early photographs by Ed Ruscha. Parking Lots, a portfolio of 30 images from 1967, anchor the artist’s trajectory over a career spanning six decades. One of the most influential American artists of his time, Ruscha is known for his iconic images of gas stations, swimming pools, and vacant lots that emphasize the banality of modern urban life.
Made from a helicopter in Southern California early on a Sunday morning, the aerial photographs of mostly empty parking lots show the rapidly growing urban sprawl of Los Angeles including Dodgers Stadium, Universal Studios, Good Year Tires, and Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Parking Lots reflects Ruscha’s interest in serial imagery, topography and mapping, and car culture, presenting the urban landscape as a geometric design with the artist’s inimitable deadpan style. Prints from Parking Lots are in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; and Tate Modern, London.
The photographs were originally released in the form of a self-published and mass produced 1967 artist’s book entitled Thirtyfour Parking Lots. In 1999, Ruscha revisited his early work, and produced limited edition portfolios. The photographs in the portfolio were printed from the same negatives as the 1967 book but are cropped differently, sometimes displaying more of the original images. He said, “Over the years I began to appreciate print quality and see my photographs as not necessarily reproductions for a book, but as having their own life as silver gelatin prints.”
About Ed Ruscha
One of the most important artists working today, Ed Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1937 and was raised in Oklahoma City. He moved to Los Angeles in 1956 to attend Chouinard Art Institute, which is now California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts). His work was shown at the influential Ferus Gallery in L.A. in the 1960s. Ruscha’s diverse oeuvre includes painting, drawing, prints, photography, film, and artists books. With an inquisitive and philosophical approach, his text-based paintings comment on pop culture, language, commercial advertising, and contemporary life.
His first retrospective was held in 2004 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 2005, he represented the United States in the 51st Venice Biennale. The exhibition, inspired by Thomas Cole, was also shown at the National Gallery in London in 2018. His work is in the collections of numerous museums around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and many others. Ruscha has been living and working in the Los Angeles area for over 60 years.
Ed Ruscha : Parking Lots
January 5 – February 18, 2023
525 W 22nd St
New York, NY 10011