Ed Ruscha

The Music from the Balconies (1984)

About this artwork

Since the early 1970s Ed Ruscha has been an admirer of the British writer J.G. Ballard’s fiction. The text in this painting is from Ballard’s 1975 dystopian novel ‘High-Rise’. The work juxtaposes a beautiful landscape and serene skyline layered with the dark and unsettling quote “The Music from the Balconies Nearby Was Overlaid by the Noise of Sporadic Acts of Violence”. Ruscha could be said to be enacting an act of violence himself in this painting, overlying the tranquil landscape with the wordy Ballard quote.

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  • title: The Music from the Balconies
  • accession number: AR01126
  • artist: Ed RuschaAmerican (born 1937)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • date created: 1984
  • measurements: 251.50 x 205.70 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Presented by the artist 2009
  • copyright: © Ed Ruscha.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha

Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up in Oklahoma and studied in Los Angeles. Ruscha's work is diverse and experimental. Since childhood he has been interested in commercial art, in the form of advertising, comic books and magazines. This led to his first paintings featuring words, produced in the late 1950s. Ruscha is equally known for his books of deadpan photographs, such as 'Twenty-six Gasoline Stations' of 1963 and volumes of banal photographs of buildings. In his work Ruscha aims to challenge accepted concepts of language and meaning, often by combining unrelated words and images.