Ed Ruscha/Raymond Pettibon: The Holy Bible and The End
Ruscha and Pettibon, as individuals, explore the tensions, congruencies, and associations of image and text. This occasion represents their collaborative work on the print series The Holy Bible and THE END, the second and third time that they have collaborated on works of art. Ruscha and Pet tibon worked with master printer Ed Hamilton at the Hamilton Press in a collaboration that engaged all three. The exhibition includes several states and proofs of the two collaborations, and new drawings by both. The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue with an essay by critic Dave Hickey and an essay by Ed Hamilton.
Long an influential voice in postwar American painting, Ruscha is also one of contemporary art’s most important graphic artists. From his earliest artist books and prints made in the 1960s to his most recent projects, Ruscha and his art epitomize both the tenets of Pop and Conceptual art with their reliance on combinations of text, image, and idea; and the culture of Los Angeles, with its close connections to popular culture, Hollywood, and the movie industry. Likewise, Pettibon and his art also have come to represent Los Angeles and its subcultures to many art historians and cultural critics. A generation younger than Ruscha, Pettibon grew up in a Southern California beach town and his seminal album covers and posters for punk rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s established his position as a figurative artist dealing with raw and often deviant combinations of popular culture (specifically comic books, crime, film and TV, politics, religion, sex, and sports); sub-cultures such as the punk rock music scene and the Southern California surfing community; and literary sources that include Henry James and Marcel Proust.
Both artists examine the congruencies and disparities between high and low art and culture. Both artists are fascinated with the relationships between word and image, the textual and the visual. Ruscha’s interests stem from his early studies of commercial art, illustration, and signage; Pettibon’s from his early album covers, self-published zines, and political cartoons. Both artists’ signature styles reflect these early endeavors—for Ruscha, a continual quest to explore word and image, frequently manifesting as an iconic image combined with an oblique text penned by the artist; and for Pettibon, a singular image rendered in pen and ink, and always with text culled from a massive personal library of textual sources.