Edward Ruscha

Image not available
Edward Ruscha
Words Going Around #3
Dry pigment and acrylic on paper
40 1/4 x 60 1/8 inches (102.2 x 152.7 cm)
Gift of the Kasper Collection.

Ed Ruscha, who grew up in Oklahoma City, moved to Los Angeles in 1956 and within ten years developed a distinctive version of Pop Art influenced by California culture. Fascinated with the look of language, he used words as his main subject matter. This drawing is related to Ruscha's first public commission, a mural for the rotunda of the Miami-Dade Public Library designed by Philip Johnson in 1985. The quotation comes from act 3, scene 3 of Shakespeare's Hamlet: "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go". While in the mural the words diminish in size as the quotation progresses 360 degrees around the rotunda, in the present work they float and circle on a white nimbus against a luminous and monochromatic blue ground in which they appear to be progressively vanishing. The literary reference of this drawing makes it stand apart from most of Ruscha's works, in which the words are predominantly inspired by popular culture.


Signed and dated in graphite pencil at lower right, Ed Ruscha 1985

Collection of David Wood; Herbert Kasper (1926-2020), New York.
Artist page: