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Monet to Matisse: Masterworks of French Impressionism is on view now!
Artist
Ed Joseph Ruscha
Title
Science
Date
1991
Medium
acrylic on paper
Dimensions
Image: 25 1/4 × 36 inches (64.1 × 91.4 cm)Sheet: 30 × 40 inches (76.2 × 101.6 cm)Framed: 38 1/8 × 41 1/4 × 1 1/2 inches (96.8 × 104.8 × 3.8 cm)
Tags
Painting
Credit Line
Kirk Varnedoe Collection, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, Gift of Ed Ruscha.
Accession Number
2006.21
A major player in the West Coast Pop Art movement of the 1960s, Ed Ruscha spent several of his early artistic years working in commercial art, for advertising agencies and magazines, before deciding to make his career in fine art. The written word and commercial processes would continue to strongly impact Ruscha’s work. He is best known for his “word paintings,” which are composed of words or brief phrases, often rendered to appear three-dimensional.

This print is composed only of the word “SCIENCE,” with some letters flipped on their axes. The letters have no soft edges, but rather appear to have been stenciled from patterns that were cut by hand. The letters are in white, on a background of gray that begins very lightly in the upper left corner and becomes gradually darker as it approaches the lower right corner. Scattered flecks of paint in the background and the slightly uneven edges draw attention to the fact, that, unlike the laws of science, this work of art was created by an inherently flawed human hand.

Ruscha was inspired to donate this particular piece to the Kirk Varnedoe Collection because, to him, Varnedoe was like a scientist. "Kirk was in a higher order of thinking. His knowledge of classical art, contemporary art, and the isms throughout history was unsurpassed. […] I thought the word echoed his sensibility.”