Ed Ruscha, 12 Sunsets

Discussion in 'News' started by movingfinger, Dec 6, 2020.

  1. Photographer Ed Ruscha has been photographing along Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles since 1966. Getty Images has acquired the archive and digitized over 60,000 (yes, 60K!) of the more than half-million (yes, more than 0.5Meg!) negatives and placed many on-line in an interactive display. It shows the evolution of the Blvd from 1966 into the 21st century.

    Here is the Getty Images opening description of the site:

    "In 1966, Ed Ruscha drove along the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. Using a motorized camera mounted on the back of a pickup truck, he methodically photographed all of the buildings on each side of the street. He assembled the photos in the artists' book Every Building on the Sunset Strip, which challenged how people thought about Los Angeles, art and photography."

    You can find this interactive display here: 12 Sunsets.

    It was difficult for me to get the hang of navigating the site but it's interesting. Many will find the majority of it boring and tedious, others will consider it to be 'art' in some sense. I do like individual shots and comparing 1960's to more recent. The Wall Street Journal has an article on it in the Dec 5 weekend edition but I think it's behind a paywall, here's the link to try. The article implies he's still doing it, how he does/did it, and the impact of how times have changed, e.g. in 1966 he shot out off the back of an open pick-up truck as someone drove, now of course, that's no longer allowed so he has a van with a porthole.
  2. Funny. When I first saw Ruscha's work way back when I immediately dismissed it as crap that would soon disappear. How wrong I was.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  3. Oh I'm with you. I too would have written it off. I don't think we are all that alone but still we keep an open mind. My definition of 'art' is anything that causes one to pause and reflect on the human condition. His images of Sunset Blvd do excite that spirit within me (but not to 60,000+). Maybe too it's just nostalgia of a youth gone by.
  4. A few years ago, I got to see a Ruscha exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. It was creative, different, and really expansive. Some of the stuff felt like Edward Hopper meets Pop Art. I also think he may have been as influenced by the Hollywood movie scene and movies and movie screens themselves as by Sunset Strip. Thanks. Great stuff!
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  5. Ed Rusha is a great conceptual artist. I am a fan.
  6. Fascinating! Thanks for posting.
  7. 60,000 images is a heck of a lot of film...
  8. Film is just a substrate for substance and vision.
  9. Art critic Sebastian Smee has an enthusiastic review of 12 Sunsets in the Washington Post at,

    I found it interesting to compare 12 Sunset images of Sunset Boulevard with Google Street View images of the Boulevard. Street View gives an aerial perspective that I found difficult to correlate with Ruscha's images. I found only a few buildings that were recognizable in both views and of those few all had new signs and names.

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