Over 50 exceptional works presented by the UBS Art Collection, on public display together for the very first time, currently feature in a dedicated exhibition at Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Mary Rozell, Global Head of the UBS Art Collection describes the featured works: "The UBS Art Collection is fortunate to have fifty-six works by Ruscha, a concentration unsurpassed by that of any other artist. This group of Ruscha’s paintings, work on paper, and prints was assembled over the course of decades starting in the 1960s, a moment that marked both the genesis of the collection and the beginnings of the artist’s career."
One of the most iconic contemporary artists, Ed Ruscha's cool, stylized depictions of gas stations and other American archetypes are ingrained in the popular image of 1960s and 70s Los Angeles. Associated with Pop Art, his work frequently references the iconography of consumer culture and advertising, as well as views of the open road and sky.
A prominent place in the exhibition is devoted to Ruscha's more conceptual works depicting detached, often playful words and phrases (one lends the exhibition its title). Mary Rozell explains "Ruscha is best known for his deadpan, irreverent approach and his use of words as his subject—single, “head-scratching” words floating or receding, and later, groups of words forming phases. The artist was primarily interested in the word as object, the relationship between the visual and the verbal."
Amongst other highlights are variations of the 20th Century Fox logo – which dominated the artist's view from his studio in East Hollywood.
"Ed Ruscha’s work cannot be considered without the context of his adopted hometown of Los Angeles. When Ruscha first visited the city at the age of fourteen, he was taken by its architecture, sprawl, and sense of possibility. He would return to attend art school at the Chouinard Art Institute in 1958 and thereafter root his life in LA, embracing the city’s topography and motifs as his subject. Today, he and his work are recognized as the embodiment of California cool. Ruscha’s work is not without a certain nostalgia, for the pre-digital age of ubiquitous signage, the seduction of nascent Hollywood and vanishing totems of the American lifestyle."
The extraordinary Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located on the brink of the Danish shoreline north of Copenhagen, is one with which UBS has a special relationship as a proud supporter of programs and exhibitions since 2014. Mary Rozell asserts "It is hard to imagine a more inviting venue to debut this presentation than the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is one of the museum world’s true gems, known internationally for its focused and intelligent exhibitions, and graced with a spectacular setting.”
The exhibition, which will be accompanied by a companion catalogue, will travel to KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes in Bergen later in the year. Curator and Head of Acquisitions at the Louisiana, Anders Kold praised the "splendid panorama of Ed Ruscha’s works" held by the UBS Collection. "The quality of the works is stunning and runs into all corners of what an artist can pursue on paper – and in this way is an ideal contribution to the ongoing Louisiana On Paper series.”