Ed Ruscha

Pool #5 (1968 / 1997)

About this artwork

Ed Ruscha’s colour photograph of a swimming pool, a Los Angeles cliché, is presented as a barren, empty place with just a hint of danger. The wet footprints leading onto the diving board in this photograph leave the sinister trace of a lone person. This photograph was originally taken for the artist book ‘Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass’ 1968, in which colour photographs of residential and municipal pools were preceded by a photograph of a broken glass, suggesting peril amidst paradise. It was reprinted with eight other images in 1997 for the ‘Pool Series’ 1968/1997 portfolio. Ruscha aimed to remove any sense of personal style in documentary photographs such as these, although this ‘styleless’ style has become a recognisable trait of 1960s conceptual art.

see media
  • title: Pool #5
  • accession number: AL00278
  • artist: Ed RuschaAmerican (born 1937)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • date created: 1968 / 1997
  • measurements: 39.40 x 39.40 cm (framed: 58.00 x 58.00 x 4.50 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Artist Rooms Foundation 2011
  • 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.