Text by Margaret Iverson, Contributions by Ed Ruscha and Leta Grzan and Viet-Nu Nguyen
Ed Ruscha's Spied Upon Scene series of paintings, begun in 2017, depict majestic mountainscapes resembling the idyllic ranges of travel books, postcards, adventure movies, and the Paramount Pictures logo. These vistas, visible through oval-shaped lenses or window grids, seem to refer to the nineteenth-century tradition of the American Sublime. In fact, their lineage includes an obscure American painter from the turn of the century, Louis Michel Eilshemius (1864-1941), whose use of painted frames became an influence on Ruscha's approach.
Commemorating an exhibition at Gagosian, London, this catalog is the first publication to examine the connections between these two artists' work. Two booklets in a softcover portfolio feature full-color plates and installation views. An interview with Ruscha and an essay by Margaret Iversen explain how Ruscha first encountered Eilshemius's enigmatic paintings, which of the artist's aesthetic innovations captured Ruscha's imagination, and how his own work relates to and differs from that of the "Neglected Marvel" Eilshemius.
About The Author
Margaret Iversen is professor emerita of art history at the University of Essex and one of the leading international authorities in the field of art theory and contemporary art. Leta Grzan is a director at Gagosian, Beverly Hills. Viet-Nu Nguyen is curator of the Ovitz Family Collection in Los Angeles.