Leave Any Information at the Signal: Writings, Interviews, Bits, Pages (October Books)
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Ed Ruscha is among the most innovative artists of the last forty years. He is also one of the first Americans to introduce a critique of popular culture and an examination of language into the visual arts. Although he first made his reputation as a painter, Ruscha is also celebrated for his drawings (made both with conventional materials and with food, blood, gunpowder, and shellac), prints, films, photographs, and books. He is often associated with Los Angeles as a Pop and Conceptualist hub, but tends to regard such labels with a satirical, if not jaundiced, eye. Indeed, his work is characterized by the tensions between high and low, solemn and irreverent, and serious and nonsensical, and it draws on popular culture as well as Western art traditions.Leave Any Information at the Signal not only documents the work of this influential artist as he rose to prominence but also contains his writings and commentaries on other artistic developments of the period. The book is divided into three parts, each of which is arranged chronologically. Part one contains statements, letters, and other writings. Part two consists of more than fifty interviews, some of which have never before been published or translated into English. Part three contains sketchbook pages, word groupings, and other notes that chart how Ruscha develops ideas and solves artistic problems. They are published here for the first time. The book also contains more than eighty illustrations, selected and arranged by the artist.
title, and I want to get it back up because people are interested in them and that has to do with the whole production of all the books. DS: Do you ﬁnd the area of ﬁlm and books, which involves a lot of other people in the production who are not artists, affecting the outcome of the work? ER: No, those people will never really understand what the director is up to because it’s such a private thing of the whole medium. Other people fulﬁll this fantasy of the director and that’s where I see
drew a cartoon strip called “Powerhouse Pepper” which I thought was real funny. He had a grotesqueness to his drawing style that I really appreciated; I loved his drawings. I think that Robert Crumb’s style is very much like Wolverton’s. I’ve forgiven Robert Crumb for that because I think he has a lot to say. I like Robert Crumb a lot, but I think he really was inﬂuenced by Wolverton. PK: He ripped off Wolverton. 102 P K, “I R H H S” ER: Well, so
maybe about Stuart Davis, who has some of the same blendings, I guess, as Léger does. I liked what he looked like better than his paintings, with these round glasses, dark glasses. PK: Did you make art in Europe? ER: Not very much. I painted some little pictures, sort of impasto oil painting on paper that I soaked in linseed oil, so that they looked semi-translucent, except where the paint is. They were paintings of words. PK: Those would be some of the earliest paintings of words? ER: Yes, some
intended to appeal to the intelligence of people, but the stories don’t deal with the deep innuendoes that we might be involved in. We might be involved in something that we truly believe, in the notion that we don’t know what it is we’re trying to set up by putting one color next to the other. We’re presenting things as problems to people and not explaining them as stories, which is what they do. PK: They’re experimenting, basically. 166 P K, “I R H H
letting the light fall as it did. I was more involved with the inhuman aspect of it, the mechanical aspect of it: of simply recording time as it was, and not so much the study of light on 170 P K, “I R H H S” a particular subject. I was more interested in the process. I didn’t care how it came out; I didn’t care how it changed. It would have been as good at night as it was during the day. There was no qualitative judgment. I was recording