Related Archival Materials
Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Edward Ruscha photographs of Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard
Date (inclusive): 1965-2010
71.6 Linear Feet
(50 boxes, 1 flat file)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
The archive is comprised of material
related to Ed Ruscha's photographic documentation of two major Los Angeles thoroughfares:
Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, as well as the projects that resulted from the
documentation of the two streets. Ruscha documented Sunset Boulevard in twelve shoots
between 1965 and 2001, and Hollywood Boulevard in four shoots between 1973 and 2004.
Finished projects include his fourth photographic art book, Every
Building on the Sunset Strip, 1966; the portfolio Sunset
Strip 1965/1995, and the portfolio and book Then & Now:
Hollywood Boulevard 1973-2004, 2005.
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Language: Collection material is in English with some German.
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
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
, 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
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).
Open for use by qualified researchers. Audio-visual materials unavailable until
reformatting is complete. Film negatives unavailable due to conservation concerns.
Edward Ruscha photographs of Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, 1965-2010, Getty
Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 2012.M.1.
Acquired in 2012.
Processed by Beth Ann Guynn and Linda Kleiger in 2012. Selected digital materials processed
by Laura Schroffel in 2017. Further processing is required on remaining digital content.
Related Archival Materials
The Getty Research Library also holds the Edward Ruscha Photographs of Los Angeles Streets
collection, Special Collection accession number 2012.M.2.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection is comprised of material related to Ed Ruscha's photographic documentation
of two major Los Angeles thoroughfares: Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, as well as
materials pertaining to the projects that resulted from the documentation of the two
Ruscha documented Sunset Boulevard in twelve shoots between 1965 and 2001 using a motorized
camera mounted on a tripod in the bed of his pickup truck. The shoots covered the
twenty-five mile length of Sunset Boulevard and included both sides of the street. In 1966
Ruscha self-published his fourth photographic art book, the iconic
Every Building on the Sunset Strip, which reproduced the images from his 1966
shoot. He reworked six of the original 1966 images for his portfolio
Sunset Strip 1965/1995, produced with the art dealer and gallerist Patrick
Painter in 1995.
Series I: Sunset Boulevard, contains approximately 5,000 original negatives and 90 contact
sheets from the 1966, 1976, and 1998 shoots; the original film rolls (on seven negative and
seven positive rolls) from the seven shoots made between 1973 and 1997 (excluding 1976); six
videotapes that represent the 2000 and 2001 shoots; and corresponding documentation. It also
contains the production materials for
Every Building on the Sunset
and the 1995 portfolio. Materials pertaining to the book span from negatives
and contact sheets from the earliest documentation attempts (circa 1965) to Jerry McMillan's
1965 preliminary contact prints and mock-ups, to the finished book. Included are circa 800
negatives and 64 contact sheets, Ruscha's mock-ups and maquettes, proofs, press pulls, and
proof and final copies of the book, and a record book containing lists of expenses for
shooting and printing and lists of books both gifted and sold. The later portfolio is
represented by negatives and prints used for selecting the final images or test shots,
"scratched" (i.e. altered) negatives and prints, and a small amount of documentation
pertaining to the project.
Series II: Hollywood Boulevard, contains materials resulting from Ruscha's documentation of
that thoroughfare between 1973 and 2004. The four shoots (1973, 2002, 2003, and 2004)
covered twelve miles and included both sides of the street. Included are the original 1973
still images (circa 4,600 negatives and 29 contact sheets containing circa 4,500 frames) and
the later images shot on still film (circa 14,000 negatives and two positive film reels) and
video (2 videos), as well as documentation pertaining to the original shoot. Still images
from all of the shoots are also compiled on CDs.
In 2005 the German publisher and master printer, Gerhard Steidl, published
Then & Now: Hollywood Boulevard 1973-2004, in both a limited
edition portfolio and as a trade book. In these works Ruscha's original 1973 images run
parallel to their 2004 versions, recording the changes that had occurred to the thoroughfare
over three decades. As with
Every Building on the Sunset
the images of the north side of the boulevard run along the top of the sheet
or page, while those of the south side of the boulevard run inverted along its bottom.
Also included in Series II are the production materials for the project, ranging from index
prints, initial layouts, proof sheets, and dummies, to examples of the final products.
Documentation includes maps, street name and numbering systems, image sequence lists, and
memos on working and production procedures.
The collection is comprised of two series:
Series I: Sunset Boulevard, 1965-2010, undated;
Series II: Hollywood
Boulevard, 1973-2005, undated.
Subjects - Topics
Streets -- United States -- Los Angeles
Subjects - Places
Hollywood Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Description and
Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Description and travel
Sunset Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Description and
Genres and Forms of Material
Black-and white negatives -- California -- Los Angeles -- 21st
Videotapes -- California -- Los Angeles -- 21st century
Contact prints -- California -- Los Angeles -- 20th
Artists books -- California -- Los Angeles -- 20th century
Contact sheets -- California -- Los Angeles -- 21st
Contact sheets -- California -- Los Angeles -- 20th
DVDs -- California -- Los Angeles -- 21st century
Dummies (printed matter) -- California -- Los Angeles -- 20th
Videotapes -- United States -- Los Angeles -- 21st century
Compact discs -- California -- Los Angeles -- 21st century
Contact prints -- California -- Los Angeles -- 21st
DVDs -- United States -- Los Angeles -- 21st century
Black-and-white negatives -- California -- Los Angeles -- 20th