• Ruscha placeholder 2

    Ed Ruscha, "Asphalt Jungle Panoramic Stretch" (detail), 1996
    On main billboard, in Hatton, Missouri, May-July 2016

  • Ruscha Satellite Context 1

    Ed Ruscha, "Asphalt Jungle Panoramic Stretch" (detail), 1996
    On satellite billboard in St. Louis, at I-70 East, Grand Boulevard Exit #247, September-October 2016

  • Ruscha Satellite Context 2

    Ed Ruscha, "Asphalt Jungle Panoramic Stretch" (detail), 1996
    On satellite billboard in St. Louis, at I-70 East, Grand Boulevard Exit #247, September-October 2016

Inserted among the hundreds of billboards that line the Missouri interstate, this work by Ed Ruscha connects the wide formats of sign and screen. An out-of-sync, old-fashioned movie reel frozen between title frames suggests both stasis and movement. The complete picture eludes us, much like the fugitive appearance of signs glimpsed from a fast-moving car. A narrative interrupted in the middle of its conclusion, "The End" becomes neither past nor future but something in between, a progressive, possibly immanent, event. Ruscha’s image—with its Biblical Old English font—speaks to the region's many Evangelical Christian billboards, some of which warn travelers that “Hell is Real” or ask them to imagine what they will say when they meet “Him” at “The Gates.” At the same time, ideas of endlessness and horizontality remind us more generally of the open road. Raised in Oklahoma, Ruscha is most closely associated with the culture and landscape of Los Angeles. The conceptual artist’s Sign Show installation recalls his Midwestern roots as well as some of his earliest work, from the 1960s, in particular his photographs of gas stations along Route 66.

Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) lives in Los Angeles. His paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, artist’s books, and films are held in the collections of major national and international museums. For information about Ruscha’s career and images of his work, see Gagosian Gallery and the Ed Ruscha Catalogue Raisoneé.
Getting There: Ed Ruscha is a video interview with the artist as he drives around Los Angeles.
video of billboard installation
The Ed Ruscha I-70 Sign Show billboard is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in Sign Show programming do not necessarily represent those of the NEH.
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Copyright © 2015 — I-70 Sign Show
All artist images, copyright © the respective artists

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