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Description: Back to the Drawing Board: Ed Ruscha, Art, and Design in the 1960s
PublisherYale University Press
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I began this project in 2013, as a graduate student at Harvard University. Writing these words in 2021, as the world is still in the throes of a global pandemic, I am more aware now than ever that this book is a team effort, a product of many loving and supportive communities of family, friends, and colleagues.
From the beginnings of this project, Robin Kelsey, my dissertation advisor, has been a tireless supporter and advocate. I am grateful for Robin’s intelligence, dedication, empathy, and continued mentorship. My other committee members, Jennifer Roberts and Benjamin Buchloh, also lent their time, expertise, and support along the way. In Jennifer’s classroom I learned habits of looking that have made me a sharper observer of art and a more adept historian. Benjamin’s writings were familiar to me from the time I was an undergraduate studying art history, and many of those writings show their impact throughout this book. I am immensely grateful to have had the chance to work with him on this project. Yukio Lippit also supported my work and was an exemplar of the dedicated scholar and teacher. Carrie Lambert-Beatty’s stellar classes provided new perspectives on the contemporary, while her personal example as a scholar and a parent inspired me to pursue a similar path. It was in the classroom of Joshua Shannon, my thesis advisor at the University of Maryland, where I was introduced to the world of modern and contemporary art, and learned the depth and richness of art historical inquiry.
This book would not have been possible without generous support from many institutions, including Harvard University, the Getty Research Institute, the Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellows Program, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the Society for the Preservation of American Modernists, and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art. The Getty Research Institute’s Library Research grant allowed me early access to the Ruscha archives, and staff at the Getty, especially Zanna Gilbert, Andrew Perchuk, Emily Pugh, and Tracey Schuster, have helped and supported this project in many ways.
I am thankful to have been able to work with the team at Yale University Press, including Amy Canonico, Raychel Rapazza, Mary Mayer, and Kate Zanzucchi, as well as copyeditor Miranda Ottewell, proofreader Glenn Perkins, and indexer Krister Swartz.
I was lucky to spend many hours on this project in Ed Ruscha’s sunny Culver City studio. The impeccably organized and patient Susan Haller hosted my many visits there and has always been tireless in her support of my work. She has answered more questions than I can count and helped with fact checking in the many stages of this project. Paul Ruscha has always welcomed me and freely shared ideas and memories with me. As a young scholar just beginning this project, I couldn’t have imagined a more generous and willing subject than Ed Ruscha. From the beginning he encouraged my work, patiently answering questions, opening his archive, welcoming me back on many visits. I am forever grateful to him for his generosity, hospitality, and steady humility.
Thank you to my wonderful family, especially my parents, Leslie and Steve; to my in-laws Walter and Nancy; and to Chris, my brother and collaborator, whose perspective has shaped my thinking on art and design and who has challenged me to not settle for easy answers. Thank you to my grandmother Margaret, one of the smartest people I know, who did not get to go to college but made it a mission to see her grandchildren receive advanced degrees. My treasured daughter Rian was born at the latter end of this project. She is a beacon of sunshine in my life and is already quite the expert on Ed Ruscha. I also extend my deepest thanks to Rian’s wonderful caregivers, including our friend and nanny Jessica Rosa, and Denise Barcelo, Gabriela Herrera, Karla Rios, Andrea Sawyer, and all of the dedicated teachers at Pine Village Preschool in Brighton, Massachusetts.
Finally, I dedicate this book to my husband Walt, my partner and best friend, whose patience and persistent love brings me joy every single day. I love you.
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