Course of empire: paintings

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Hatje Cantz, 2005 - Art - 64 pages
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Inspired by the symmetrical, Jeffersonian layout of the American Pavilian's Neo-Classical architecture, and by Thomas Cole's cycle of the same name, Ed Ruscha installed this ten-painting "Course of Empire" at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Five pieces are painted in color and five in black and white. The artist paired each work from his 1992 "Blue Collar" series with a new color canvas depicting the future of the same urban landscape, some deteriorated, some growing and changing, some seemingly gentrifying. Essays from Linda Norden, the US Commissioner for the Venice Biennale, and artist Frances Stark celebrate the work, while Joan Didion's coolly written but deeply felt piece about her own brokenhearted longing for Los Angeles hits a perfect note. Those who love Ruscha will vibrate like tuning forks on finding these pitch-perfect pieces together.

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About the author (2005)

Ed Ruscha is an internationally acclaimed artist based in Los Angeles.

Born in Sacramento, California, on December 5, 1934, Joan Didion received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1956. Joan Didion wrote for Vogue from 1956 to 1963, and was visiting regent's lecturer in English at the University of California, Berkeley in 1976. Didion also publishes novels, short stories, social commentary, and essays. Her work often comments on social disorder. Didion wrote for years on her native California; from there her perspective broadened and turned to the countries of Central America and Southeast Asia. Her novels include Democracy (1984) and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996). Well known nonfiction titles include Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968) and The White Album (1979). In 1971 Joan Didion was nominated for the National Book Award in fiction for Play It As It Lays. In 1981 she received the American Book Award in nonfiction, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Prize in nonfiction for The White Album.

Linda Norden was, until recently, the Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Fogg Art Museum.

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