Contributed by Laurie Fendrich / The work of the Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha is often referred to as a West Coast version of Pop Art. The implication, of course, is that since it didn’t come out of New York, it must be inferior. His retrospective “Now Then,” his first at the Museum of Modern Art and first in New York since 1983, contains over 200 works from 1958 to the present. It includes paintings, drawings, prints, vitrines with selected self-produced photo-documentary books presented for our perusal, and some film (the Getty Research Institute owns a complete set of Ruscha’s artist’s books). The exhibition also includes the installation Chocolate Room, the walls of which are covered top to bottom with gridded sheets of paper silkscreened with chocolate syrup, recreated from its first iteration at the US pavilion in the 1970 Venice Biennale. Ruscha was also the American Biennale representative in 2017.
If theres one word that sums up Paul Czanne (1839-1906), the subject of this massive MoMA exhibition, its struggle.