Parking Lots

Selections from the Nasher Museum of Art.
January 31, 2009
May Company, 6067 Wilshire Blvd. (Parking Lots series, 1967-1999), Ed Ruscha

May Company, 6067 Wilshire Blvd. (Parking Lots series, 1967-1999) Ed Ruscha, American. Portfolio of 30 silver gelatin prints, ed. 26/35, each 15 x 15 inches. Promised gift of Blake Byrne '57 in honor of Raymond D. Nasher '43.

Nebraska-born Ed Ruscha moved to Los Angeles in 1956 and began making collages, at first similar to those of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, but, over time, increasingly emphasizing sources and imagery from the real world and popular culture.

Parking Lots is a major photographic work that originated in the 1960s when Ruscha turned his attention to the familiar urban setting of Los Angeles. His series of photographic "found" landscapes of the California lifestyle engaged with seemingly ordinary and everyday sites such as the aerial view of an empty parking lot seen in May Company, 6067 Wilshire Blvd.—one of a set of thirty different views in the Parking Lots series. In other series, Ruscha features views of swimming pools and Sunset Boulevard.

His works resonated with the 1960s Pop Art repetitions and grid-like patterning that were also seen in Andy Warhol's soup cans, Jasper Johns' painted numbers, and Chuck Close's thumbprint portraits, and influenced many conceptual artists of later decades.