Monday, September 4, 2023

David Platzker on Ed Ruscha

"THE DISTANCE from the Knox-Less service station in Oklahoma City to Bob’s Seaside Service, not so far from the Santa Monica Pier at the terminus of Route 66—both pictured in Ed Ruscha’s 1963 artist’s book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations—was about 1,400 miles. It’s a drive Ruscha has taken many times since he traveled it with Mason Williams in Ruscha’s lowered 1950 four-door Ford, with throaty Smitty Glasspack dual muffler, following their graduation from Oklahoma City’s Classen High School in 1956.1

The trail from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles via Route 66 holds a mythic place within the lore of the American West, from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road—typed in 1951 and published in September 1957, a full year after Ruscha and Williams’s journey—to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939), in which the author framed the trip from Oklahoma to California as one driven by drought and depression."

Continue reading "Station to Station: David Platzker on the art of Ed Ruscha" in the current issue of Artforum, here

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