B. 1937 Born in Omaha, Nebraska and raised in Oklahoma City, Ed Ruscha began his art career as a boy, taking painting lessons from a portraitist and drawing comics of everyday life. In 1957, he left Oklahoma to attend Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. He made his first paintings using words after leaving school and working for an advertising agency in 1960. Beginning in 1961, he turned to photography as an additional medium, using his images of buildings on Sunset Strip, and apartment buildings and gas stations in Los Angeles, to create some of the most influential artist’s books of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Considered both a pop and conceptual artist, over the years Ruscha has investigated the spaces between highways and maps, images and words, abstraction and representation, public imagery and landscape painting. Both his paintings and photographs ask the viewer to consider the vernacular-built environment as an index of contemporary society. Ruscha's work has appeared in major shows around the world, including Paris, Rotterdam, Barcelona, and Japan. He is also represented in the permanent collection of most major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hirshhorn in Washington D.C. Ruscha also completed a 23-foot-tall mural for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, entitled "Picture Without Words."