October 9, 2016


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Lot 137: Ed Ruscha

Lot 137: Ed Ruscha

Crescent Heights Becomes Laurel Canyon

Acrylic on raw linen
Signed and dated verso
Linen: 18" x 20"; Frame: 18.875" x 20.875"
Provenance: Private Collection, Los Angeles, California
Illustrated: Edward Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings. Vol. 6. R. Dean. 2016. 194, #P2000.25.
Estimate: $150,000 - $200,000
Price Realized: $468,750
Inventory Id: 23136

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Ed Ruscha's painting, photography, and books are among the most iconic art works of the 20th century. The depiction of subjects from popular culture and the flat, stylized forms in his works have led him to be characterized as a Pop artist. A transplant to Los Angeles, he moved to the city in 1956 to attend the Chouinard Art Institute, and soon became one of the city's most adept chroniclers. The unique streetscape of the city, dominated by facades and bold signage, prompted Ruscha's exploration of the empty spectacle of Hollywood, a continual source of fascination for the artist.

In Crescent Heights Becomes Laurel Canyon (2000), three pale lines bisect the stippled black and white surface of the linen. The painted words, which run alongside these lines, invoke famous Los Angeles street names, identifying this as a simplified aerial view of the city. This work developed from Ruscha's renowned Metro Plots series, in which the intersecting lines of the gridded street system are viewed from above, illustrating the point at which one street transitions into the next. The cool lines and stark text impose an abstract order upon the chaos of the city and the words themselves resonate with the glamour of Los Angeles. The artist has described Los Angeles as, "the ultimate cardboard cut-out town. It's full of illusions and allows its people to indulge in all these illusions."

Rieff, David. Los Angeles: Capital of the Third World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. Print.