Hayward Gallery
exhibition

Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting

Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting, 14 October 2009 – 10 January 2010, Hayward Gallery.  Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting was the first major retrospective to focus exclusively on the paintings of the Los Angeles-based artist, one of the most influential and innovative American artists of the past half century. 

The exhibition revealed the depth and breadth of Ruscha’s achievement as a painter and highlighted the conceptual underpinnings of his approach to painting. In addition to exploring the impact of print and graphic media on the artist’s aesthetic strategies, it also focused on the incisive portrait of American culture that is presented through his work. Whether trafficking in absurdity or scanning signs of social decay and decline, his paintings provocatively question our relationship with words as well as pictures. 
 
Much of Ruscha’s art has been driven by a fascination with the power and enigma of language and characterised by a delight in paradox, ambiguity and the incongruous.  

Whilst Ruscha is widely celebrated for the visual elegance and wit of his paintings, this exhibition also revealed his insistently experimental approach to the medium as well as his charged takes on the contemporary cultural landscape. In addition, the exhibition tracked the ways in which Ruscha has repeatedly reinvented his artistic vocabulary throughout his career, creating substantial new bodies of work in each decade.

The exhibition was accompanied by an illustrated catalogue featuring essays by James Ellroy, Alexandra Schwartz, Bruce Wagner, Ulrich Wilmes and Hayward Gallery Director Ralph Rugoff, as well as an interview with the artist by Kristine McKenna. 

filter events

WHEN
pick a date
E.g., 26/06/2017

Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting was the first major retrospective to focus exclusively on the paintings of the Los Angeles-based artist, one of the most influential and innovative American artists of the past half century. 

The exhibition revealed the depth and breadth of Ruscha’s achievement as a painter and highlighted the conceptual underpinnings of his approach to painting. In addition to exploring the impact of print and graphic media on the artist’s aesthetic strategies, it also focused on the incisive portrait of American culture that is presented through his work. Whether trafficking in absurdity or scanning signs of social decay and decline, his paintings provocatively question our relationship with words as well as pictures. 
 
Much of Ruscha’s art has been driven by a fascination with the power and enigma of language and characterised by a delight in paradox, ambiguity and the incongruous.  

Whilst Ruscha is widely celebrated for the visual elegance and wit of his paintings, this exhibition also revealed his insistently experimental approach to the medium as well as his charged takes on the contemporary cultural landscape. In addition, the exhibition tracked the ways in which Ruscha has repeatedly reinvented his artistic vocabulary throughout his career, creating substantial new bodies of work in each decade.

The exhibition was accompanied by an illustrated catalogue featuring essays by James Ellroy, Alexandra Schwartz, Bruce Wagner, Ulrich Wilmes and Hayward Gallery Director Ralph Rugoff, as well as an interview with the artist by Kristine McKenna. 

Get the catalogue

Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting

An illustrated catalogue featuring essays by novelist James Ellroy and an interview with the artist. 

Buy now

shop hayward

On Display: 50 Posters Designed for the Hayward Gallery

Art of Change: New Directions from China

British Art Show 8 book

Light Show book