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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Big Surprise, Duly Noted

I'm not a big fan of Ed Ruscha's work. Never have been. I even wrote something snarky back in 2004 when it was rumored that Ruscha was the leading contender to represent America at the last Venice Biennale.

So it's come as a surprise to me how much I've been enjoying the current installation of his Biennale contribution, Course of Empire, which is on view at the Whitney through January 29.

Part of my interest in the work is due to the multiple layers of allusion the series carries (between the black and white works from the early 1990s and the more recent color pieces and between this series and the original by Thomas Cole that I have always liked). Another part is due to the installation itself. I don't have an installation view to share, but maybe that's a good thing as it won't ruin the surprise for you if you haven't seen the show yet. I'll just say that I've never seen a Whitney installation that uses Marcel Breuer's architecture in such an interesting way.

Update: Up to the minute with the zeitgeist, I guess. No sooner do I post this and start poking around the web for the first time today than I come across this, and this, and this. The Ruscha installation, I guess, is the topic du jour.

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