Artwork details

Title
The Back of Hollywood
Date
1968
Medium
Gouache on silkscreen on paper
Dimensions
44,5 x 113 cm
Artist
Ed Ruscha

Courtesy of the artist.

 

The Back of Hollywood, 1968
Ed Ruscha has been one of the most influential artists in the Los Angeles art community since the 1960s, and helped to define the development of pop art. Ruscha’s artistic exploration of Los Angeles and Hollywood was inspired by the city’s architecture and visual language in the form of signs, lettering and billboards. The Back of Hollywood shows the famous sign placed against a vividly colourful California sunset. In presenting the rear side of the Hollywood sign, Ruscha is underscoring the dark side of Hollywood’s mythological world. The rectangular shape of the picture is reminiscent of a cinema screen or a billboard. The format also serves as a comment on how the city is usually experienced: through the rectangular windscreen of a car. In a later work from 1990 the artist used an airbrush to achieve a more diffuse and incorporeal presentation of the iconic sign. This displays the front of the Hollywood sign, but has a darker undertone in that the grey hues can be perceived as representing the extreme pollution of Los Angeles.

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