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Ed Ruscha’s expansive oeuvre defies easy categorization, though it’s all infused with a kind of deadpan California cool. Since the 1960s, Ruscha has made photographic books, tongue-in-cheek photo collages, paintings, and drawings that demonstrate a keen interest in language and the idiosyncrasies of life in Los Angeles, where the artist has lived since the 1950s. In his most famous works, he places words and phrases from the colloquial and consumerist vernacular atop photographic images or fields of color—a strategy that situates him within a larger Pop art lineage. Ruscha often paints and draws with unusual materials such as gunpowder, blood, and Pepto Bismol, drawing attention to the deterioration of language and the pervasive clichés in American culture. Ruscha’s work has been exhibited across the globe, and the artist has enjoyed solo shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Moderna Museet, in addition to the Venice Biennale, where he represented the United States in 2005. At auction, his work has sold for eight figures.

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