David Lynch Thinks About Ed Ruscha

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Ed Ruscha, photographer of twenty-six affectless Standard gas stations in LA, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, and painter of words floating in space, with or without a setting, is the subject of a retrospective at London’s Hayward gallery, and the Times of London decided to ask David Lynch what he thinks of it. (Who better to ask, really?) Bottom line: “I like to think the California sun has burnt out all unnecessary elements in his work.”

Ruscha has always insisted: “My pictures are not that interesting, nor is the subject matter. They are simply a collection of facts.”

“I think that’s baloney,” Lynch says with a laugh. Well, Spam, perhaps. Before Ruscha, such objects — words, gasoline stations, street frontages — were not seen as interesting. Now, because of him, we can see even gasoline stations as having “angles, colours and shapes, like trees”, as the artist has put it, capable, in his hands, of epic re-presentation.

The article is mostly a quick summary of Ruscha’s career, but Lynch’s reflections are pretty interesting too. Link.


Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →