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Monet to Matisse: Masterworks of French Impressionism is on view now!
Artist
Ed Joseph Ruscha
Title
America Her Best Product
Date
1975
Medium
lithograph on paper
Dimensions
Sheet: 31 1/4 × 23 1/2 inches (79.4 × 59.7 cm)
Tags
Print
Credit Line
Gift of P. Lorillard & Company.
Accession Number
1977.23
“Somewhere there should be a stamp or impression (I get the impression) that America made herself. And isn’t she her best product?”
̶ Ed Ruscha

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.

America Her Best Product is part of the Kent Bicentennial portfolio: Spirit of Independence, published in 1975 by Lorillard, A Division of Loews Theatres, Inc. and the same producers as Kent cigarettes, in order to “help illuminate the American experience as a contemporary expression of the meaning of our country’s independence.” Participating artists responded to the question: What does Independence mean to me? In Ruscha’s case, America built herself on her own, as a commercially successful product.