HOLLYWOOD DREAM BUBBLE: Ed Ruscha's Influence in Los Angeles and Beyond
844 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Saturday, April 27 at 6:00 PM 8:00 PM
Ends Jun 15, 2024
We are proud to announce HOLLYWOOD DREAM BUBBLE: Ed Ruscha’s Influence in Los Angeles and Beyond, a group show opening this Saturday, April 27th at The Hole: 844 N La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. Ed Ruscha has occupied many roles in the broad cultural consciousness—foil to the New York–based Ab-Ex movement, a member of Ferus Gallery’s “cool school”, standard-bearer for Southern California and renderer of funny and oracular words in his Boy Scout Utility Modern font—but among artists, particularly in Los Angeles, he is known for his steadfast support of the scene. He shows up at openings: he collaborates, he collects and he donates. Hamilton Press, the Venice fine art printing company he co-founded, invites emerging artists to produce editions. It is natural then that the exhibition began with a conversation we had with an LA artist and longtime Ruscha admirer, Ellen Jong. Jong’s wall works, which contain words formed from traditional Chinese ink congealed and sculpted into strips, were created in direct homage to the ribbon-like words in Ruscha’s gunpowder drawings. Tull himself has made paintings with palettes borrowed from gradients in Ruscha paintings. The show came together quickly and rhizomatically: a local network of Tull’s Ed-affiliated friends and collaborators opened up into a major group of people across the country who have been influenced by Ruscha. No doubt this exhibition has a lot to say: beyond Jong’s ink assemblages (spelling PIE and SCHMEAR) a partial list of words and phrases includes MOTHER TONGUE (Mitchell Syrop), TO DISAPPEAR ENHANCES (Roni Horn), OMG and OY/YO (Deborah Kass), OPEN YOUR EYES (Sam Durant), chrysanthemum (Ricci Albenda) and A MILLION YEARS CLEAN (Harland Miller). Kim Gordon’s contribution, one of her signature Word Paintings, is a tribute made expressly for this moment. Other recognizable stylistic cues include the cigarette pack diagonals and supersaturation in Kristopher Raos’s Untitled (Slow Burn), which recall the dramatic use of single-point perspective and bold colors in Ruscha paintings like Standard Station, 1966 and Large Trademark with Eight Spotlights, 1962. Ruscha’s distinctly West Coast sunsets and gradients are echoed in photographs by Amir Zaki (above) and Brice Bischoff, and two photographs from Catherine Opie’s iconic Freeway Series evoke Ruscha’s serial photographic documentation of Los Angeles streets. Jennifer West’s film Museum on Fire (after Ed Ruscha – 35mm and super 8 film painted over and etched into with dyes and inks, permanent markers, Los Angeles tap water and some urine) at once references the painting of LACMA, Ruscha’s short films and his use of nontraditional mediums as stains. You could scan the surfaces of works in this show looking for shades of Ruscha to find that his presence is just a proposition; the show’s titular “influence” encompasses direct quotations, tributes and choices in style and medium, as well as links that are more oblique or profound. Some works represent Ruscha’s involvement in an artistic cohort that extends from contemporaries, like Wallace Berman and Dennis Hopper; to family members, like his son Eddie Ruscha and daughter-in-law Francesca Gabbiani; to studio staff Senon Williams and Jason Mason, among others. Jeffrey Vallance asked to contribute a color drawing of Mike Kelley (1954-2012) and sent us this note: "Ed really liked Mike. Ed sponsored an exhibition of the three of us entitled "Three Headed Monster"—I did the drawing for it." With more than seventy artists, this is not a “tightly curated” exhibition: neither could it possibly be a comprehensive one. HOLLYWOOD DREAM BUBBLE is just a piece of the discourse around the great artist’s reach and a celebration of his impact among American artists across generations. Two and a half miles away from Ruscha’s LACMA retrospective, the conversation continues.