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How Ed Ruscha Photographed Every Building On The Sunset Strip

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Contemporary artist Ed Ruscha has lived in Los Angeles for more than sixty years. Though he is surely one of our brightest art world luminaries, his work has done far more than just shape the meaning of L.A. art—Ruscha has fundamentally shaped the way we see the city itself, making art of our vernacular landscape and sanctifying the California mundane. We truly see our palm trees, dingbat apartment buildings, billboards and gas stations in large part because Ruscha showed them to us.

In Ed Ruscha: Buildings and Words, a new short documentary commissioned by MOCA, director Felipe Lima presents the story of Ruscha's art practice and immersion in Los Angeles, from his word paintings to his photographing of Los Angeles apartment buildings.

Narrated by Owen Wilson—who promises that he isn't going to try and explain Ruscha's work to us, just show us what there is—the mini-doc blends archival footage and personal photographs with new interviews, taking viewers on a rapid-fire, immersive tour through the work and obsessions of one of America's most iconic living artists.

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There are also interviews with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, and Ruscha's fellow West Coast-based art titans Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, and Ed Moses.

But the real highlight is an explanation of how Ruscha translated his interest in the city's architecture as seen from a moving vehicle into his iconic artist's book Every Building on the Sunset Strip:

The video, which premiered on i-D, will also play at MOCA on Sunday, when the museum screens 1971's Premium and 1975's Miracle, the only two movies Ruscha ever made.