April 9, 2009

And hearing distorting and feeling is lying
But it never succeeds to prevent me from trying

Bev Gegen, Lagoon, 2007

* From a 2008 interview of Ed Ruscha. excerpt:

Q: Are you interested in who’s running for the presidency?

Ruscha: ‘Not enough. I don’t watch TV, so I feel like I’m left out of the American fabric or something. People refuse to believe that I’ve never been to Starbucks or Disneyland – I mean what kind of American am I? So in a sense, maybe I’m thumbing my nose at America.’

Q:Yet you’re so closely tied to California and have consistently paid homage to Americana…

Ruscha: ‘All my artistic response comes from American things and I guess I’ve always had a weakness for heroic imagery. “Azteca” is heroism at its finest: it could represent arms flung open, searchlights going at diagonals or even blaring horns. But a standard gasoline station is similarly heroic.’

Q: Why did you name the statuesque mountain ranges ‘Higher Standards, Lower Prices’?

Ruscha: ‘I was searching for a title and I saw this slogan on a grocery truck in LA. In the second of the two paintings these buildings suddenly shoot up out of nowhere like an instant industrial village of Wal-Marts and Costcos – so that says to me lower prices. But then you have your higher standards – there’s some serious geology going on in those mountains.’

Q:Where does this focus on erosion come from? Is it about looking back and remixing previous work or is it about getting older?

Ruscha: ‘I had paintings in my studio that were looking at me and I didn’t want to give up on them. Its almost like I’m a farmer, practicing crop rotation. However, I can’t say that just because one image looks older or greyer than the other that it’s necessarily negative. I’m just pointing up the issue, not commenting – I don’t have a social agenda.’

* Wild Turkey sold for $575 million.

* "Barnum was wrong - it's more like every 30 seconds." -- Unknown


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