Ed Ruscha – Double Americanisms
DOUBLE AMERICANISMS shows a new series of linguistic paintings informed by Ed Ruscha's memories of Oklahoma City, where he spent his teenage years, and the city's distinctive slang: used parchment drumheads are inscribed with locutions whose shared feature is the use of a double negation - "I Ain't Telling You No Lie," for example, and "I Can't Find My Keys Nowhere." Expressions like these remind him of the way people around him used to speak, and rather than disavowing them as incorrect English, he picks up on them and transforms them into art. The inexorable passage of time is a recurrent theme in Ruscha's work, and by reminiscing about his upbringing, he also emphasizes the continuity between his younger self and who he is now - as the artist sees it, he really has not changed much at all.
Centerpiece of the book is a series of six large-format pictures - digital reproductions of three paintings (again, true to side and laterally reversed) showing the star-spangled banner in different conditions that Ruscha created between 1985 and 2017. In the first pair of pictures (after Mother's Boys, 1987), the American flag proudly waves before a radiant blue sky, but in the second set (after Untitled [American flag on pole], 1985), dark clouds roll in, and in the third (after Our Flag, 2017), a tattered banner before a black backdrop betokens a disastrous outcome.
|Museum / Ort||Wiener Secession|