Ruscha Show Coming to LACMA in 2024

Ed Ruscha, Los Angeles County Museum on Fire, 1965–68. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
The MoMA/LACMA-organized "Ed Ruscha/Now Then," a 200+ object exhibition opening in New York Sep. 10, will travel to LACMA Apr. 7, 2024, through Oct. 6, 2024. 

The New York Times has a feature on the installation of the Chocolate Room (1970) at MoMA. 


Anonymous said…
I notice a letter to the NYT regarding the article says: "I did contract work installing Ruscha's show at Oklahoma Contemporary in 2021...I never want to smell melted milk chocolate again."

LOL. Too much of anything, even if originally very good, becomes...too much.

I wonder what Ruscha thinks of what's being done to LACMA? Based on his 1968 painting, which is owned by the Hirschorn (sheesh, should have instead been snapped up by LACMA), he must be relieved, if not gleeful. Hell, maybe he's the anti-Save-LACMA/MAGA-mob guy.

Yesterday I ran across another letter to the NYT under their article about how NYC's performing-arts center is being managed. The letter was from a person with an LA IP, and he grumbled about what Govan is doing to LACMA. The writer's POV was closer to mines awhile ago. Or before I had visited Louvre World in Orlando, France.

However, I still think the Zumthor/Govan building has too many loose strings (particularly budget-, size/technical-wise), but I also have a better sense of why a Ruscha may have devilishly liked portraying the 1965 facility as on fire.
Ruscha's "The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire" (1965-1968) at the Hirshhorn portrays the campus as floating on a moat. Cool.
I'm reminded of other museums that actually are surrounded by moats: the Forbidden City, of course. And the Malmö Art Museum in Sweden.
In real life, LACMA has no business featuring a moat, as the locale is a desert bakery.
Agreed: The fact that LACMA didn't take this is a decision that will live in infamy. Hirshhorn bought it from a Los Angeles gallery. SAD.
Anonymous said…
^ FWIW, the design of architect William Pereira's 1965 buildings was inspired by the US Science Pavilion of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle. That was from the same architect behind NYC's ill-fated twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Pereira was a compromise choice after LACMA's Board of Trustees couldn't agree on Mies van der Rohe. I wonder what he would have come up with in the early 1960s?

As for the moat, it was plagued from the beginning by leaking underground tar deposits (and methane gas) found throughout mid-Wilshire LA. In 1985, that gas caused an explosion of a retail store a few blocks away. By contrast, most of the Zumthor/Govan blob will be suspended way above ground level on two anchor pods. For some reason, a similar format is embraced by the architect of the Lucas museum.
Anonymous said…
Why LACMA didn't immediately snatch up the Ruscha piece is anyone's guess. Maybe the trustees thought it was too insulting. Either way, you can add it as one more bad decision LACMA made during its existence.
Anonymous said…
Behind the scenes, I bet Govan and Zumthor joked about setting the Pereira buildings on fire.

Govan could have invited Ruscha to light the fire.

... The Pereira buildings were so banal. Only a fire could have given them the affect they lacked.
Macabre and funny, and likely true.