Ed Ruscha

Schwab's Pharmacy (Sunset Strip Portfolio) (1976 / 1995)

About this artwork

In the 1990s, Ruscha brought together many of his photographs from the 1960s and 70s into new groupings, such as the ‘Sunset Strip Portfolio’ 1967/1995, a set of six photographs including this one. This photograph was originally one of many simply documenting the length of Sunset Strip. In the 'Sunset Strip Portfolio' Ruscha has placed the focus on the now legendary places captured, such as Schwab’s Pharmacy, a famous drug store and café frequented by movie stars including Ava Gardner and Lana Turner. In Billy Wilder’s film, 'Sunset Boulevard' (1950), Schwab’s is described by the screenwriter character Joe Gillis as, ‘Kind of a combination office, coffee klatch and waiting room.’ In taking razor blades and sandpaper to the negatives Ruscha reinforces the place’s deterioration and decline; the pharmacy closed down in 1983.

see media
  • title: Schwab's Pharmacy (Sunset Strip Portfolio)
  • accession number: AL00287
  • artist: Ed RuschaAmerican (born 1937)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1976 / 1995
  • measurements: 51.10 x 75.10 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.