Harry Ransom Center acquires Ed Ruscha Archive

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired the archive of artist Edward Ruscha (b. 1937). The materials reveal Ruscha’s creative process and offer a unique perspective of one of the most influential artists working today.

Born in Omaha, Neb., Ruscha moved to Oklahoma City in 1941 and to Los Angeles in 1956 to attend the Chouinard Art Institute. He had his first solo exhibition in 1963 at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. In the years since, he has been widely recognized for his paintings, drawings, photographs and artist’s books.

Ruscha is known for art that often manipulates words and phrases in unconventional ways. Ruscha’s art is deeply influenced by his love of books and language, as reflected by his frequent use of palindromes, unusual word pairings and rhyme. He has often combined the cityscape of Los Angeles with vernacular language, and his early work as a graphic artist continues to strongly influence his aesthetic and thematic approach.

Ruscha’s archive comprises five personal journals filled with preliminary sketches and notes; materials related to the making of his artist’s book of Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” (2010); notes, photographs, correspondence and contact sheets relating to the creation and publication of his many other artist’s books, including “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” (1962), “Every Building on the Sunset Strip” (1966) and “Some Los Angeles Apartments” (1965); and materials relating to his short films “Miracle” (1975) and “Premium” (1971); his portfolios; and several art commissions.

Once processed and cataloged, the materials will be accessible in the Ransom Center’s reading room to students, researchers and the public.

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