Ed Ruscha

21st May 2024

Ed Ruscha has made art for almost 65 years. His work is in the collections of the Whitney, the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and others all over the world. His medium is eclectic – he’s a painter, a photographer, an installation designer, a printmaker, and one of Los Angeles’ most iconic artists. LACMA, just put on a retrospective of Ruscha’s work. NOW THEN covers a career that’s spanned over five decades. We get into the exhibit and his time growing up in the Midwest. We also get into some of his most famous works, including Chocolate Room – which is exactly what it sounds like.

Episode notes

(Photo: Maximum Fun / Kevin Ferguson)

Ed Ruscha has made art for almost 65 years. He’s a former Guggenheim Fellow. Ed’s work is in the collections of the Whitney, the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and others all over the world.

His medium is eclectic – he’s a painter, a photographer, an installation designer, a printmaker, and one of Los Angeles’ most iconic artists.

One of his most famous works is in the permanent collection for the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

It’s big. Not so big you couldn’t fit it through a doorway but, it wouldn’t be easy. Ruscha only used two colors. Blue and yellow – like on a can of spam. It’s square. And the word is the first thing you notice: OOF.

A curator would probably call it playful. And they’d file it under, broadly, under pop art, next to Warhol, Lichtenstein, Haring. But there’s something different in Oof – kind of unplaceable. It’s surprising, disorienting and funny.

He’s also made paintings of gas stations, of restaurants, the 20th Century Fox logo, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art … on fire.

That same museum, LACMA, just put on a retrospective of Ruscha’s work. NOW THEN covers a career that’s spanned over five decades.

On the latest episode, we get into the exhibit and his time growing up in the Midwest. We also get into some of his most famous works, including Chocolate Room – which is exactly what it sounds like. At his age he still wants to make new stuff, in new mediums. Lots to choose from, but there’s one he definitely doesn’t want to pursue. We get into all of that and so much more.

In this episode...

Senior Producer
Producer
Maximum Fun Producer
Maximum Fun Production Fellow

Guests

  • Ed Ruscha

About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

If you would like to pitch a guest for Bullseye, please CLICK HERE. You can also follow Bullseye on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. For more about Bullseye and to see a list of stations that carry it, please click here.

Get in touch with the show

People

Senior Producer

Producer

Maximum Fun Producer

Maximum Fun Production Fellow

How to listen

Stream or download episodes directly from our website, or listen via your favorite podcatcher!

Share this show

New? Start here...

Liked Ed Ruscha? Listen to these next...