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Post #1332 • April 20, 2009, 7:28 AM • 1 Comment
Ed Ruscha, in conversation with Howardena Pindell for Print Collector's Newsletter, 1973, reprinted in Leave Any Information at the Signal:
No category fully encompasses someone's art. They're all outside what the artist does anyway—they're after the fact. All categories are made for the convenience of people to delineate someone's work. It shouldn't make that much difference, but it can affect someone's career more than it can someone's work… because it's on the street level, it's the business side of things, it's the desire to wrap someone up. All I know is I've kind of escaped all the labels because I started painting in 1961… and my work wasn't in any of the Pop Art shows, with the exception of one. That was the New Painting of Common Objects at the Pasadena Museum in 1962. I wasn't even called a Pop artist until lately, and I'm sure that's because I live on the West Coast. Some poeple have put my work in with Conceptual Art. But I think anybody's out of Conceptual Art who makes any kind of image in his work, which I do. I'm surprised I've gotten as much mileage out of my work as I have. I've been working for ten years now. A lot of artists don't stay around that long. Artists are getting more like athletes… Their production is limited to a shot, to a real quick shot. They don't like to look at it that way—painters become old and they still work. But I've always questioned that. I've left it open. If it happens I ever run out of work to do or the desire to do it, even though I'm making a good living, I always think of the possibility of just dropping art, of going on to something else… Like working in a restaurant.
April 25, 2009, 6:36 PM
From 1973, eh? Sounds like he just said it today, except now it would be "I've been working for forty-five years now." Lots of artists protest having a tag hung on them, but more than any successful artist I know of, Ed Ruscha's work defies categories. Look at the site for his Catalogue Raisonne and you can find the "word" pictures that he is usually associated with, but a lot of things that he is not, such as AFFILIATION and FEAR NOT.