Ed Ruscha

HOPE (1998)

About this artwork

The shape and scale of this large work is a direct reference to public advertising billboards, which is a recurring motif in Ruscha’s work. In contrast to this the word ‘Hope’ is a very private emotion, filled with religious and spiritual connotations. This jars with the dark, menacing spray paint that the artist has used. With the final letter, ‘E’, almost obliterated in an explosion of darkness, the idea of hope dying or fading is suggested. Ruscha has used the word ‘Hope’ in several other paintings.

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  • title: HOPE
  • accession number: AR00063
  • artist: Ed RuschaAmerican (born 1937)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1998
  • measurements: 101.60 x 152.40 cm (framed: 109.00 x 159.00 x 5.00 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • 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.