This work will be included in the forthcoming Edward Ruscha Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings. "Edward Ruscha's deadpan charge of redundancy on the cover of this anniversary issue reminds us that what is true for rock stars and pop artists also holds for a magazine whose identity is synonymous with vanguard culture: the onset of deep adulthood is cause less for jubilation than for dread. It's no secret that Artforum has become something of an institution over the last three decades; Ruscha's dig, in fact, is only the most recent in a minitradition of artists-tweaking-Artforum that dates back at least as far as John Baldessari's 1966-68 This Is Not to Be Looked At. And indeed it is not the reminder that we are an institution that lets the air out of our 30-year boast, so much as an undertone that seems to chide: "Is that all that Artforum is?" (J. Bankowsky, Artforum, September 1993, p. 3).
For the 30th Anniversary of Artforum, Ed Ruscha painted the present lot, Etc. Etc., which graced the cover of the September 1993 issue. At the time, Ruscha's brilliant blend of formally rigorous, graphically strong and conceptually sound work was seen as a signature work of its time. In the thirteen years since then, Ruscha's work has only grown in importance and resonates more strongly with each year in contemporary art.
Etc. Etc., is a witty blend of painted surface and object--the words "Etc. Etc." are realized with actual pieces of wood--that recall his breakthrough works of the 1960's which were masterworks of trompe l'oeil. In classic Ruscha style, the work is both visually compelling, sharply witty and point to deeper meanings about its subject, in this case, the dissemination and repetition of art criticism, and its intrinsic worth.