In 1973, Ruscha first documented Hollywood Boulevard, producing two continuous panoramic views of the north and south sides of the street. Loading a continuous strip of black & white 35mm film into his motor-drive Nikon F2 and then mounting it on a tripod in the bed of a pickup truck, Ruscha drove back and forth across the entire length of the street, shooting it frame-by-frame. The negatives were developed, but never published.
In 2004, the artist re-shot Hollywood Boulevard with the same type of camera equipment, but this time on 35mm color- negative film. In Then & Now (2005), the original 1973 panoramic images run parallel to their 2004 versions, displaying the changes that have occurred over three decades.
Los Angeles is a crowded city known for its horizontal layout, as opposed to the vertical layout of major East Coast cities such as New York. Despite its population increase, the city continues to sprawl outwards as opposed to upwards, refusing to abandon the nostalgia of the wide-open West.
The exhibition visually documents changes, both small and large, in the suburban setting of Los Angeles and simultane- ously reflects Ruscha’s ongoing interests and process. The photographs of parking lots, vacant lots, and rooftop views serve as visual metaphors for the vastness of the modern day, American West and depict the simple, boxy aesthetic in the facades of LA structures and the city layout – aspects highlighted in the paintings, drawings, and the photography since Ruscha first moved to the West.
The 142-meter long work Then & Now will be rotating during the exhibition period and shown in conjunc- tion with work from the series Vacant Lots, Roof Top Views, Roof Top View 50 Years Later and The Sunset Strip. In addition to the photographs, fourteen of Ed Ruscha’s artist books, documenting his photographic practice since the 1960s, will be on view.