With the acquisition of nine studies for the graphite drawings of “Los Angeles Apartments” (1965) as well as of a set of the twenty-five black-and-white photographs treating the same theme Ed Ruscha brought out in 2003, the Kunstmuseum laid the foundations for this exhibition. The presentation of these studies will obviously benefit enormously from the juxtaposition of as many as possible of the ten finished “Los Angeles Apartments” drawings, which are now held by museums and private collections in the United States.
The initial point for these drawings were black-and-white photographs Ruscha had made in 1965 for his photo book “Some Los Angeles Apartments,” which appeared that same year. The edition published in 2003 was based on the 1965 photonegatives as well. By placing these different media side by side and taking a comparative look at photographs from the “Gasoline Stations” series (1962) as well as drawings on the theme of “Large Trademark” and “Standard Station” (1962 and 1963, respectively), the show offers an especially vivid illustration of Ruscha’s artistic practice and his use of photography in particular. The radical perspective in which they stage their subjects, their bold wide formats, and their reduced palette—the primary colors yellow, red, and blue exude a positively heraldic signal-like quality—these images employ strategies from advertising. Realistic and abstract at once, they have long ago become icons of Pop Art.