Fifty years ago, Ruscha purchased a set of vellum drum skins from a leather shop in Los Angeles. He has continued to collect these vintage objects, and since 2011 he has used them as canvases for the works on view at the Blanton Museum of Art. In these paintings, Ruscha wraps a slangy phrase—each one chock full of double and triple negatives—around the perimeter of a drum skin. The resulting compositions are fresh and evocative, while also harking back to the crisp, colorful text paintings about the idiosyncrasies of West Coast life for which Ruscha is known. Here, however, he looks back to his earlier hometown of Oklahoma City, evoking the Americana of his youth with fondness and wit. The drum skin paintings possess a warm nostalgia that transports the artist’s fine-tuned visual language back to a simpler time and place.
In 1980, Larry Gagosian opened his first gallery in Los Angeles. In the forty years since, the gallery has continued to celebrate the city’s vibrant arts scene. We are thrilled to be among the founding members of galleryplatform.la, and we look forward to broadening our contribution to Los Angeles’s artistic community through this new initiative.