INVENTORY OF THE EDWARD RUSCHA PHOTOGRAPHS OF LOS ANGELES STREETS, 1974-2010

Finding aid prepared by Beth Ann Guynn


Descriptive Summary

Title: Edward Ruscha photographs of Los Angeles streets
Date (inclusive): 1974-2010
Number: 2012.M.2
Creator/Collector: Ruscha, Edward
Physical Description: 35.0 linear feet (28 boxes)
Repository:
The Getty Research Institute
Special Collections
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
(310) 440-7390
Abstract: The collection is comprised of Edward Ruscha's ongoing photographic documentation of Los Angeles thoroughfares. Included are shoots of three streets made in the 1970s: Santa Monica Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, 1974; and Melrose Avenue, 1975; and over 40 shoots made since 2007. These shoots represent more than twenty-five streets including Sepulveda, Pico, Olympic, Wilshire, La Cienega, and Beverly boulevards.
Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
Language: Collection material is in English.

Biographical/Historical Note

The American artist Edward Joseph Ruscha IV was born in Omaha, Nebraska on December 16, 1937 to Edward Ruscha III, an insurance auditor, and his wife Dorothy Driscoll Ruscha. He was raised in Oklahoma City where he met his lifelong friends Mason Williams, Joe Goode, and Jerry McMillan. After graduation from high school he drove to California with Mason Williams to attend Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts). Robert Irwin and Emerson Woelffer were among the teachers who would have an especially strong influence on him.
Ruscha graduated from Chouinard in 1960 and in 1961 made his first trip to Europe, traveling with his mother and older sister Shelby by car for seven months. The numerous travel images he took with his Yashika camera that include storefronts, window displays, and billboards, as well as the perhaps more typical images of people they met on their journey, thematically and stylistically prefigure the photographs he was soon to take for his early artist's books such as Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963) and Some Los Angeles Apartments (1965).
A visit to New York on his way back to California opened Ruscha's eyes to Pop Art, and the work he subsequently created was included in New Painting of Common Objects, the first exhibition of Pop Art, curated by Walter Hopps at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1962. The following year Hopps gave Ruscha his first solo show at Ferus Gallery. Informed by Pop Art and the distinctive billboard culture of Los Angeles, Ruscha went on to become a pivitol presence in the West Coast and Conceptual art scenes.
Although much of Ruscha's work is informed by or uses photography as its point of departure, he sees himself not as a photographer but as someone who uses the medium of photography as part of his larger artistic practice. His early photographic artist's books, many of which further distill the quotidian elements of the Los Angeles cityscape - parking lots, urban streets, and apartment buildings - into serial imagery, have fundamentally altered the genre of the artist's book through their use of photography and commercial production methods. Yet in a discussion of his artist's books with Silvia Wolf, Ruscha noted, "My use of the camera is still a tool to make a picture...At the time I was into making pictures that happened to be photographs, rather than making 'photographs' ("Nostalgia and New Editions; A Converstion with Ed Ruscha," in Ed Ruscha and Photography, 2004, p. 257).
Known for the drawings and paintings of words and phrases that he began making in the 1960s, as well as for his artist's books, Ruscha is one of the pre-eminent artists of his generation. He has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. His first international exhibition was in Cologne at Galerie Rudolf Zwirner in 1968. A few years later he began showing at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, and his first retrospective was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1982. He is currently represented by Gagosian Gallery (Los Angeles and New York).

Administrative Information

Access

Open for use by qualified researchers. Film negative and positive reels are unavailable due to conservation concerns.

Publication Rights

Preferred Citation

Edward Ruscha Photographs of Los Angeles Streets, 1974-2010, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 2012.M.2.

Acquisition Information

Promised gift of Ed Ruscha.

Processing History

Processed by Beth Ann Guynn and Linda Kleiger in 2012.

Related Archival Materials

The Getty Research Library also holds the Edward Ruscha Photographs of Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard collection, Special Collection accession number 2012.M.1.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is comprised of Edward Ruscha's ongoing photographic documentation of Los Angeles thoroughfares. This material demonstrates Ruscha's interest in producing an almost comprehensive representation of the city's main streets. Included are shoots of three streets made in the 1970s: Santa Monica Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, 1974; and Melrose Avenue, 1975; and over 40 streets shot since 2007. These later shoots represent more than twenty-five streets including Sepulveda, Pico, Olympic, Wilshire, La Cienega, and Beverly Boulevards. Some shoots record groups or "suites" of streets such as the Chinatown, La Brea, and Silverlake areas.
The shoots from the 1970s are represented primarily by strip negatives and corresponding [?] contact sheets (approximately 10,500 negatives and circa 100 contact sheets containing approximately 9,800 frames). Documentation consists primarily of relevant pages photocopied from the production notebooks found in box 7 of the Getty Research Institute's companion collection, Edward Ruscha Photographs of Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, 1965-2000, accession number 2012.R.1.
From 2007 onward Ruscha generally shot a street over a period of two days. Each day is represented by a negative reel (49 reels total). The two negative reels for each day were then combined by the Los Angeles film lab FotoKem in a single positive reel (24 reels total). Documentation for each shoot consists primarily of cue and footage sheets and invoices from the FotoKem labs.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically by shoot date.

Indexing Terms

Subjects - Topics

Streets--United States--Los Angeles

Subjects - Places

La Brea Avenue (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
Los Angeles (Calif.)--Description and travel
Melrose Avenue (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
Pacific Coast Highway--Description and travel
Santa Monica Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
Silver Lake (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
Sunset Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
Wilshire Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel

Genres and Forms of Material

Black-and-white negatives--California--Los Angeles--20th century
Compact discs--California--Los Angeles--20th century
Contact sheets--California--Los Angeles--20th century
Photographic film (photographic materials)--California--Los Angeles--20th century
Photographic film (photographic materials)--California--Los Angeles--21st century


Container List

 

Edward Ruscha photographs of Los Angeles streets

 

1970s, 1974-1975

Scope and Content Note

Materials from shoots of Los Angeles streets made during the 1970s. Streets included are Santa Monica Boulevard, Pacific Coast Highway, and Melrose Avenue.
 

1974 shoots, 1974

Box 1-3

Santa Monica Boulevard

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on August 4, 1974.
Box 1

Negatives

Box 1, Folder 1

Negative strips

Scope and Content Note

284 strips of 13 frame negatives (final strip is six frames).
Box 1, Folder 2

Cut negatives

Box 2

Contact sheets

Scope and Content Note

Thirty-six contact sheets containing 11 strips of 13 frames corresponding to negatives above. Annotated with sheet and strip numbers; yellow cross street labels adhered to sheets. Sheet no. 34 is printed twice, clipped together and annotated as darker and lighter print. Also included are seven contact sheets labeled "proof too dark," "proof too light," or "strips reversed"; and six sheets, three which have sticky notes on them.
Box 3, Folder 1

Documentation

Scope and Content Note

Four pages of production notes photocopied from the green production notebook. (Notebook is contained in 2012.M.1, Box 7, Folder 13.)
Box 3-6

Pacific Coast Highway

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on December 15, 1974.
Box 4, Folder 1

Negatives

Scope and Content Note

235 strips of 13 frame negatives.
Box 5, Box 5-6

Contact sheets

Box 5, Folder 1

19 x13 inch sheets

Scope and Content Note

Twenty-one 13 frame (11 strip) contact sheets and one sheet with 4 strips corresponding to negatives above; seven test contact sheets including four versions of the same sheet, marked variously on versos: test; shadows; normal.
Box 6, Item 1-2

CDs of contact sheets

Scope and Content Note

Two Cds. D1 marked: PCH 1974 / Ed Ruscha / Streets / contacts only / JPEGS / 13 x 19" / 300 DPI / 85 Mg. D2 marked: PCH 1974 / Ed Ruscha / Streets / digital contacts / all data.
Box 5, Folder 2

Index prints

Scope and Content Note

One sheet containing negative strips 210-220.
Box 3, Folder 2

Documentation

Scope and Content Note

Three pages of production notes photocopied from the green production notebook. (Notebook is contained in 2012.M.1, Box 7, Folder 13.)
 

1975 Melrose Avenue shoot, 1975

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on May 4, 1975.
Box 4, Folder 2

Negatives

Scope and Content Note

289 strips of 13 frame negatives (final strip is three frames).
Box 7, Folder 1

Contact sheets

Scope and Content Note

Twenty-six contact sheets containing eleven strips of 13 frames, corresponding to negatives above. A photo of each take is marked in yellow. Also included are three sheets of outtakes and one smaller sheet of 4 x 6 1/2 inch and 1 x 4 inch frames; one dark print comprised of seven strips of 12 frames (strip nos. 115-121); and one cut sheet consisting of two strips of 13 frames and one strip of three frames (strips 287-289).
Box 3, Folder 3

Documentation

Scope and Content Note

Three pages of production notes photocopied from the green production notebook. (Notebook is contained in 2012.M.1, Box 7, Folder 13.)
Box 7, Folder 2

Unidentified shoots, circa 1974-circa 1975

Scope and Content Note

Includes four taped contact sheets marked "misc proof"; two contact sheets marked "Pacific Coast Highway," and two additional contact sheets.
 

2007-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoots made since 2007 when Ruscha resumed his documentation of Los Angeles streets. Most of the shoots were done over a period of two or more days. Each shoot usually consists of two negative reels and one positive reel. For the most part the negative reels are either labeled with a specific date(s)within the broader shoot date or are identified as "first run" and "second run." Footage is taken from labels on leaders, cannisters or boxes. Documentation consists primarily of Foto-Kem materials such as cue and footage sheets and invoices.
 

2007 shoots, 2007-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoots include Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard, and Melrose Avenue.
Box 3, 8-9

Sunset Boulevard, 2007-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on June 6 and from June 10 to June 13, 2007; 24.6 miles.
Box 8

Negative film reels, 2007 June 10-2007 June 13

Box 8, Item FN1

2007 June 6

Scope and Content Note

955 feet of film.
Box 8, Item FN2

2007 June 10-2007 June 13

Scope and Content Note

991 feet of film.
Box 8, Item FN3

Blank leader, 2007 June 10-2007 June 13

Scope and Content Note

Two passes: north/east; south/west. No footage recorded.
Box 9, Item FP1

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 3

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 8-9

Santa Monica Boulevard, 2007

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on July 12, 2008; 14.13 miles.
Box 8

Negative film reels, 2007 July 12

Box 8, Item FN4

First run

Scope and Content Note

572 feet of film.
Box 8, Item FN5

Second run

Scope and Content Note

575 feet of film.
Box 9, Item FP2

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 4

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 9-10

Melrose Avenue, 2007-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on July 12, 2008; 6.1 miles.
Box 10

Negative film reels, 2007 July 12

Box 10, Item FN6

First run

Scope and Content Note

327 feet of film.
Box 10, Item FN7

Second run

Scope and Content Note

292 feet of film.
Box 9, Item FP3

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 4

Documentation, 2010

 

2008 shoots, 2008

Scope and Content Note

Shoots include Olympic, Wilshire, Beverly, Pico, and Venice boulevards, as well as Western Avenue.
Box 3, 9-10

Olympic Boulevard, 2008

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on June 20 and June 23, 2008; 24.6 miles.
Box 10

Negative film reels, 2008 June 13-2008 June 16

Box 10, Item FN8

2008 June 13

Scope and Content Note

947 feet of film.
Box 10, Item FN9

2008 June 15-2008 June 16

Scope and Content Note

971 feet of film.
Box 9, Item FP4

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 5

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 9-10

Wilshire Boulevard, 2008-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on June 21 and June 23, 2008; 15.8 miles.
Box 10

Negative film reels, 2008 June 21-2008 June 23

Box 10, Item FN10

2008 June 20

Scope and Content Note

587 feet of film.
Box 10, Item FN11

2008 June 23

Scope and Content Note

633 feet of film.
Box 9, Item FP5

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 6

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 11-12

Beverly Boulevard, 2008-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on June 20 and June 23, 2008; 13.2 miles.
Box 11

Negative film reels, 2008 June 20-2008 June 23

Box 11, Item FN12

2008 June 20

Scope and Content Note

667 feet of film.
Box 11, Item FN13

2008 June 23

Scope and Content Note

345 feet of film. Annotation on cannister label: West only / 8.37 mi.
Box 12, Item FP6

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 7

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 11-12

Pico Boulevard, 2008-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place from August 30 to September 2, 2008; 15.6 miles.
Box 11

Negative film reels, 2008 August 30-2008 September 2

Box 11, Item FN14

2008 August 30-2008 August 31

Scope and Content Note

710 feet of film.
Box 11, Item FN15

2008 September 1-2008 September 2

Scope and Content Note

693 feet of film.
Box 12, Item FP7

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 8

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 12-13

Venice Boulevard, 2008-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place on August 28 and August 31, 2008 and from September 1 to September 3, 2008; 13.3 miles.
Box 13

Negative film reels, 2008 August 28-2008 September 3

Box 13, Item FN16

2008 August 28 and 31; 2008 September 1

Scope and Content Note

500 feet of film; crossed out and corrected on label as: 612 feet.
Box 13, Item FN17

2008 September 1-3

Scope and Content Note

447 feet of film; crossed out and corrected on label as: 583 feet.
Box 3, Folder 9

Documentation, 2010

Box 12, Item FP8

Film positive, 2010

Box 3, 12-13

Western Avenue, 2008-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place from November 7 to November 10, 2008; 27.1 miles.
Box 13

Negative film reels, 2008 November 7-2008 November 10

Box 13, Item FN18

2008 November 7-2008 November 8

Scope and Content Note

1049 feet of film.
Box 13, Item FN19

2008 November 9-2008 November 10

Scope and Content Note

1103 feet of film.
Box 12, Item FP9

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 10

Documentation, 2010

 

2009 shoots, 2009

Scope and Content Note

Streets documented include Franklin and Fountain avenues, Ventura Boulevard, Third Street, Pacific Coast Highway, Sepulveda Boulevard, Figueroa Street, La Cienega Boulevard,
Box 3, 14, 15

Franklin Avenue and Fountain Avenue, 2009-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on May 17, 2009; Fountain Avenue 6.2 miles; Franklin Avenue 4.7 miles.
Box 14

Negative film reels, 2009 May 17

Box 14, Item FN20

First run

Scope and Content Note

Fountain Avenue: 341 feet of film. Franklin Avenue: 231 feet of film.
Box 14, Item FN21

Second run

Scope and Content Note

Fountain Avenue: 354 feet of film. Franklin Avenue: 188 feet of film.
Box 15, Item FP10

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 11

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 14, 15

Ventura Boulevard, 2009-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place on June 26 and June 27, 2009; 16.5 miles.
Box 14

Negative film reels, 2009 June 26-2009 June 27

Box 14, Item FN22

First run

Scope and Content Note

606 feet of film; crossed out and corrected on label as: 592 feet.
Box 14, Item FN23

Second run

Scope and Content Note

602 feet of film.
Box 15, Item FP11

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 12

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 15, 16

Third Street, 2009-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place on June 28 and June 29, 2009; 13.6 miles.
Box 16

Negative film reels, 2009

Box 16, Item FN24

First run

Scope and Content Note

599 feet of film.
Box 16, Item FN25

Second run

Scope and Content Note

680 feet of film.
Box 15, Item FP12

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 13

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 15, 16

Pacific Coast Highway, 2009-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place on August 29 and September 1, 2009; 27.4 miles.
Box 16

Negative film reels, 2009

Box 16, Item FN26

First run

Scope and Content Note

880 feet of film.
Box 16, Item FN27

Second run

Scope and Content Note

892 feet of film.
Box 15, Item FP13

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 14

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 17

Sepulveda Boulevard, 2009-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place between November 1 and November 15, 2009; 44.1 miles.
Box 17

Negative film reels, 2009

Box 17, Item FN28

First run

Scope and Content Note

1492 feet of film.
Box 17, Item FN29

Second run

Scope and Content Note

1632 feet of film; crossed out and corrected on label as: 1952 feet.
Box 17, Item FP14

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 15

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 18

Figueroa Street, 2009-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place on November 16 and November 20, 2009; 31.8 miles.
Box 18

Negative film reels, 2009

Box 18, Item FN30

First run

Scope and Content Note

1130 feet of film.
Box 18, Item FN31

Second run

Scope and Content Note

1108 feet of film.
Box 18, Item FP14

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 16

Documentation, 2010

Box 3, 19-20

La Cienega Boulevard, 2009-2010

Scope and Content Note

Shoot occurred on December 21 and December 22, 2009; 13.6 miles.
Box 19

Negative film reels, 2009

Box 19, Item FN32

First run

Scope and Content Note

482 feet of film.
Box 19, Item FN33

Second run

Scope and Content Note

501 feet of film.
Box 20, Item FP16

Positive film reel, 2010

Box 3, Folder 17

Documentation, 2010

 

2010 shoots, 2010

Scope and Content Note

Individual streets documented include Hollywood, Culver, Century, Lincoln, San Vicente, and Washington boulevards. "Suites" of streets recorded include the Chinatown, La Brea, and Silver Lake areas.
Box 3, 20, 21

Chinatown

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place on January 15 and January 20, 2010. Streets documented include Hill Street, Spring Street and Broadway. No mileage recorded.
Box 21

Negative film reels

Box 21, Item FN34

First run

Scope and Content Note

1118 feet of film.
Box 21, Item FN35

Balance

Scope and Content Note

1114 feet of film.
Box 20, Item FP17

Positive film reel

Box 3, Folder 18

Documentation

Box 3, 19, 22

La Brea Suite

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place between April 22 and April 25, 2010. Streets documented include La Brea, Fairfax, Highland, and Rossmore avenues and Vine Street. No mileage.
Box 22

Negative film reels

Box 22, Item FN36

First run

Scope and Content Note

1173 feet of film; crossed out and corrected on label as: 1141 feet.
Box 22, Item FN37

Balance

Scope and Content Note

1173 feet of film; crossed out and corrected on label as: 1135 feet.
Box 19, Item FP18

Positive film reel

Box 3, Folder 19

Documentation

Box 3, 19, 20

Hollywood Boulevard

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place between July 10 and July 12, 2010; 6.4 miles.
Box 19

Negative film reels

Box 19, Item FN38

First run

Scope and Content Note

488 feet of film.
Box 19, Item FN39

Second run

Scope and Content Note

482 feet of film.
Box 20, Item FP19

Positive film reel

Box 3, Folder 20

Documentation

Box 3, 23

Culver Boulevard

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place between March 25 and March 28, 2010; 31 miles. Shoot ended at Point Ferman.
Box 23

Negative film reels

Box 23, Item FN40

First run

Scope and Content Note

1414 feet of film.
Box 23, Item FN41

Second run

Scope and Content Note

1349 feet of film.
Box 23, Item FP20

Positive film reel

Box 3, Folder 21

Documentation

Box 3, 21, 24

Century Boulevard

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place between July 10 and July 13, 2010; 13.2 miles.
Box 24

Negative film reels

Box 24, Item FN42

First run

Scope and Content Note

562 feet of film.
Box 24, Item FN43

Second run

Scope and Content Note

461 feet of film.
Box 21, Item FP21

Positive film reel

Box 3, Folder 22

Documentation

Box 3, 24, 25

Lincoln Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place between July 10 and July 13, 2010; Lincoln Boulevard 8.8. miles; San Vicente Boulevard 4.4 miles.
Box 24

Negative film reels

Box 24, Item FN44

First run

Scope and Content Note

First label: Lincoln Blvd. 8.8 miles; 349 feet. Annotation: W/San Vicente; 501' (footage crossed out). Second label: San Vicente Blvd. 4.4 miles; 305'.
Box 24, Item FN45

Second run

Scope and Content Note

Lincoln Boulevard: 337 feet of film; San Vicente Boulevard 144 feet of film.
Box 25, Item FP22

Positive film reel

Box 3, Folder 23

Documentation

Box 3, 25, 26

Washington Boulevard

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place between August 14 and August 17, 2010; 27.7 miles.
Box 26

Negative film reels

Box 26, Item FN46

First run

Scope and Content Note

1024 feet of film.
Box 26, Item FN47

Second run

Scope and Content Note

1067 feet of film.
Box 25, Item FP23

Positive film reel

Box 3, Folder 24

Documentation

Box 3, 27

Silver Lake Suite

Scope and Content Note

Shoot took place between September 20 and September 22, 2010. The ten streets documented were: Silver Lake Boulevard, Hoover Street, Virgil Avenue, Hillhurst Avenue, Los Feliz Boulevard, Hyperion Avenue, Alvarado Street, Echo Park Avenue, Glendale Boulevard, and Rowena Avenue.
Box 27

Negative film reels

Box 27, Item FN48

First run [?]

Scope and Content Note

1689 feet of film.
Box 27, Item FN49

Balance

Scope and Content Note

1689 feet of film; corrected on lable as 1241 feet.
Box 27, Item FP24

Positive film reel

Box 3, Folder 25

Documentation

Box 28

Slow moving vehicle sign, 2007

Scope and Content Note

Sign used in the truck during shooting, hand lettered by Paul Ruscha in English and Spanish.