@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
  • Ed Ruscha & Anthony d’Offray at Wolverhampton Art Gallery (@WolvArtGallery @KidsinMuseums)

    October 23rd, 2011mardixonCulture

    Once again, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, together with ARTIST Rooms managed to secure a fabulous talk by American Artists Ed Ruscha.

    Ed’s art combines painting, drawing, photography and typography providing a unique flavor of works that is not limited to one medium.

    As Charlotte had a PD day, she invited friend Megan to come to the talk.  While I wasn’t exactly positive what age group the talk was aimed at, Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s fabulous Exhibition curator Zoe Lippett has always welcome Charlotte to these events since Charlotte was at the launch of ARTISTS Rooms in May 2009 when there was a talk with Anthony d’Offay regarding Andy Warhol.

    We arrived a bit early for the girls to have a look at the Ed Ruscha exhibition and also to see the BP Portrait Award exhibition as Michael said it was really impressive (and he wasn’t wrong!). Before entering the BP Portrait Award exhibition, there was a very Kids in Museums friendly warning about nudity.  I chatted with the girls about it and decided they were mature enough to handle it.

    The BP Portrait Award ignited so many extraordinary conversations between Megan and Charlotte. Some pieces looked like photographs and they were surprised to find it was created with acrylics on canvas. The size of some of the pieces also started conversations on composition and how to start a piece to end up with the perfect piece (or was that what made it good?).  I stayed out of the conversation as wanted them to develop their own decisions although it was really encouraging to hear.

    Then we got ready for the talk.  I’ve never seen so many people at the gallery – there was such an amazing buzz and vibe about the place.  Old to young all there to hear Ed Ruscha.

    A real surprise came when I was told not only was Ed talking, but Anthony d’Offay was there and Bob Monk (Ed’s friend for over 40 years).  This led to a relaxed intimate conversation, despite the amount of people there.

    I’ve managed to transcribe most of the conversations with the highlights here:

    Mountain Pictures: Late 1990s, pictures using words with mountains as stage set to use as an excuse to use whatever he was into at the time.

    • Daily Planet was humorous in Australia as it’s the name of the biggest brothel there.
    • Pay Nothing Until April [2003 Acrylic on canvas] was based on Popeye character Mr Wimpy who always said “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”

    Ed called the ‘font’ he uses: Boy Scout Utility Modern

    The Music From The Balconies Nearby Was Overlaid By The Sense Of Sporadic Acts Of Violence [1984 Oil on canvas] In early 1970s, Ed received a book called Crash by JG Ballard which then led to him reading High Rise by the same author which is about people who live in high rise buildings and issues they have.

    Anthony ask if ‘Some Pretty Eyes and Some Electric Blue’ [1976 mixed media on paper] was in reference to marriage. Ed ‘No. no.’

    Ed received Honorary Doctorate to University of Wolverhampton.

    He has created 37 books since 1962 but not consistently. He loves the medium of books. He ‘knows how artists get involved with books – it’s an art form that hasn’t been explored.’

    When referencing Sunset Strip, black and white photos with ‘scratches’ Ed said ‘Kids are not going to know what scratches on a film strip means’ as medium [ film] not used now. [If that is true, then it’s another reason we need to ensure we keep museums and galleries open for our young generation.] 

    Dance? [1973 Mixed medium]. After Bob queried the question mark at the end.  Ed responded ‘I don’t know, maybe I just had extra room left..’ This very interesting piece was the favourite for Megan and Charlotte as it was created using: egg whites, ketchup, chilli sauce and other food products.  When asked about preserving a piece like this Ed responded he ‘didn’t worry about it at the time. I just considered the use of unorthodox materials.’

    Made in U.S.A [1976, works on paper] was created as representation of the lack of these labels used in the manufacturing of American products.

    After the talk, I was able to speak to Anthony d’Offay.  It was ever so kind of him to remember Charlotte from the Andy Warhol talk.  I asked if a picture was possible even though I realized how extremely busy it was with everyone vying for autographs and chats with Ed and himself.  Anthony (or his PA) organized a picture in a side room with Ed Ruscha, Anthony, Zoe, Charlotte and Megan.  Now that’s a memory the kids won’t be forgetting anytime soon, thanks to Wolverhampton Art Gallery.



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