News & Opinion | June 2, 2018 5:00 am

At 80, Ed Ruscha Remains a Master of American Pop Art

The iconic painter of American gas stations is being honored in four separate exhibitions this year.

Artist Ed Ruscha attends the Ed Ruscha Paintings Opening Reception at Galleria Gagosian on November 20, 2014 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)
Artist Ed Ruscha attends the Ed Ruscha Paintings Opening Reception at Galleria Gagosian on November 20, 2014 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)
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Ed Ruscha remains a giant of pop and conceptual art at the age of 80. A new profile in Vanity Fair brings us inside Ruscha’s six-decade career with one question in mind: What makes Ruscha so cool?

That’s the word that friends, colleagues, and admirers all use to describe his work, from his word-based works like Oof to his iconic paintings of American gas stations. As Vanity Fair’s Mark Rozzo puts it, “He is to highways, service stations, and signage what Warhol was to soup cans.”

Famously witty and gentle, Ruscha still works in Los Angeles, the city that has played home to and animated so much of his work. This year, Ruscha’s works are being exhibited in Omaha, Denmark, Vienna, and London.