Ed Ruscha. OOF. 1962 (reworked 1963). Oil on canvas

The Music from the Balconies, 1984. Oil on canvas

Standard Station, Ten-Cent Western Being Torn in Half. 1964

Rancho, 1968. Oil on canvas

Chocolate Room, 1970/2004

Ed Ruscha / Now Then will also feature his unique installation, The Chocolate Room created in 1970 for the U.S. pavilion at the 35th Venice Biennale. Ruscha screenprinted chocolate paste onto hundreds of sheets of paper, lining the walls from floor to ceiling. This immersive work has been recreated for MoMA. 

Born in 1937, Ed Ruscha was raised in Oklahoma City and moved to Los Angeles in 1956 to study commercial art at the Chouinard Institute (now CalArts). Walt Disney was the major backer of the Institute and Ed Ruscha recalled meeting him one day and watching Walt Disney introducing himself and them leaving in his brand new Thunderbird. The young Ruscha had ambitions of becoming a sign painter when he left home at 18. He was already fascinated by Hollywood logos, gas stations, signs with their interesting typography. While in school, he’d frequently go to the Clark Library, on the UCLA campus, to study typography and printing. Works, such as Oof (1962/1963), in the MoMA collection, demonstrate the artist’s longstanding fascination with the shape, sound, and impact of language. It depicts a one-syllable word with a bold shape and guttural sound that recalls the dynamic exclamations found in comic strips, while also highlighting Ruscha’s acute understanding of design and typography. His work infused with deadpan humor and playfulness, is perfectly in tune with today’s world.  Jean-Sébastien Stehli

ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN September 10, 2023—January 13, 2024. Moma.org. 

August 31, 2023 — Jean Sebastien Stehli