DAM presents Ed Ruscha: On the Road

Exhibition marries Jack Kerouac’s legendary words with dynamic visuals

(Denver, Colo.) — September 7, 2011 — The Denver Art Museum (DAM) presents Ed Ruscha: On the Road, a vibrant exhibition featuring works inspired by Jack Kerouac’s seminal work On the Road, the novel that came to define the Beat Generation. Both artists utilize language as a form of social commentary, documenting the continuing shifts in the American cultural landscape. Ed Ruscha: On the Road will be on view from December 24, 2011 through April 22, 2012.

By superimposing passages from Kerouac’s epic 1957 novel onto images of snow-capped mountains or abstract backgrounds, Ruscha injects new life into the feverishly written words. Much of the novel, typed on a continuous 120-foot-long scroll, is set against the backdrop of post-World War II lower downtown Denver.

On the Road is a quintessential Western sojourn,” said Thomas Smith, director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the DAM. “As Denver played a significant role in On the Road, it’s fitting that the Denver Art Museum exhibits these corollary works.”

In 2009 Ruscha created his own limited edition artist book version of On the Road illustrated with photographs he took, commissioned or found that was published by Gagosian Gallery and Steidl. For this exhibition, Ruscha has created a new body of paintings and drawings pulled from the passages of Kerouac’s novel. The works are accompanied by Ruscha’s artist book edition of Kerouac’s novel. Each work takes its text from On the Road, painted over images of nature in Ruscha’s signature ALL CAP typography or drawn on delicately spattered abstract backgrounds.

Ed Ruscha: On the Road is organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. The exhibition is made possible by a major gift from The Brotman Foundation of California. Generous support is provided by Lannan Foundation, Michael Rubel and Kristin Rey, The Fran and Ray Stark Foundation, and Linda and Jerry Janger. Significant local support is provided by Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. Additional funding is provided by the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign. Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, and The Denver Post.

The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. General admission for Colorado residents: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students, $3 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. Admission for non-Colorado residents: $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. For information in Spanish, call 720-913-0169. For more information, visit www.denverartmuseum.org or call 720-865-5000.

Image credit: Ed Ruscha. Mañana, 2009. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. © Ed Ruscha.