Please wait, image loading
Since the 1960s, Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) has built a distinctive and ever-expanding lexicon of signs, symbols, images, and words drawn from vernacular America. Abandoning academic connotations, he looked instead to tropes of advertising, bringing words—as form, symbol, and material—to the forefront of painting. In The Future (1999), Ruscha presents the titular words separated at both sides of the composition using anamorphic lettering that he developed while conceiving a commissioned project for the Denver Central Library in 1995. By elongating and distorting the letters, he blends language into abstraction, allowing for a strained reading of the text that mirrors the ambiguousness of its meaning. Under Ruscha’s masterful hand, the visual utterance is situated within a hazily speckled, highly atmospheric environment that is as reminiscent of interplanetary space as it is of a weathered street.
Photo: Kate Simon