This rare presentation of Los Angeles-based artist Ed Ruscha’s 1975 short film Miracle centers on a day in the life of an auto mechanic (played by artist Jim Ganzer), who has a transformative experience while working on the engine of a Ford Mustang. Actress and singer Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas plays his love interest. Since the 1960s, Ruscha has received extensive critical acclaim for his paintings, photographs, drawings, and books exploring the commercial vernacular of Los Angeles—its graphic signage, architecture, and even parking lots. In effect, his work subtly comments on America’s cultural and socioeconomic evolution in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Miracle is one of only two films made by the artist in the 1970s. Also on view this fall, Thomas Bayrle’s wallpaper work Chrysler Tapete is similar in subject and contemporary to Ruscha’s film. Miracle will be shown alongside Chrysler Tapete, creating a dynamic conversation between the two works.
Ed Ruscha (b. 1937, Omaha, Nebraska) lives and works in Los Angeles. Recent major solo exhibitions include Ed Ruscha: Standard at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2012); Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting at the Hayward Gallery, London; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2009); Ed Ruscha: Photographer at Jeu de Paume, Paris; Kunsthaus Zurich; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (2006); and Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips®, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2004). He has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the 51st Venice Biennale (2005); the Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1997, 1989, 1987); and Documenta IX, VII, and V, Kassel, Germany (1992, 1982, and 1972), among many others.
Ed Ruscha: Miracle is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Kelly Shindler, Associate Curator.