by Ruscha, Edward (American, b. 1937)
Categorized in Drawing

Ruscha grew up in Oklahoma City, but headed for Southern California soon after his high school graduation. He started as a commercial artist, but wound up being famous for his works which record modern everyday life. He has a knack for taking typical things from ordinary daily life and elevating their status. Many declare that he pays homage to the Southern California lifestyle because of the way he elevates the oddness of its everyday images and turns them into icons. Californians claimed Ruscha as their own Pop artist while New York claimed Warhol. He and Andy Warhol have often been compared because they both use language as a major component of their work. The difference between the two lies in the fact that each uses language for totally different reasons. Warhol?s use of words was purely visual and sent a message about low-culture taste. Ruscha instead likes to use his wit to devise a humourous play on words in his often hilarious works filled with ambiquities. This difference is why some critics maintain that he should not be considered a Pop artist like Warhol, but rather he should be recognized as a conceptual artist who was ahead of his time.

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