A key figure in the California Pop art movement, Ed Ruscha’s art is laced with humor and irony because, as he has said, “Art has to be something that makes you scratch your head.” Ruscha studied graphic arts before charting a fine arts course, and he rose to prominence in the early 1960s with decidedly graphic paintings. Art in this body of work depicts a single word, portrayed in a specific font, floating across a colored background. Like Pressures, their enigmatic declarations hover between clarity and mystery, deadpan humor and cultural criticism. In Pressures, nine evenly spaced letters balance like stars across an atmospheric, midnight-blue ground bearing a typeface that is the artist’s own invention—a font he calls “Boy Scout Modern.”
Pressures is on view in our SECU Collection Hall, level 3.