Gagosian Launches Season II of ‘Artist Spotlight’ w/ New Works by Ed Ruscha

RIOT BOX, 2020
Dry pigment and acrylic on paper
11 1/8 x 15 in
28.3 x 38.1 cm
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy Gagosian.



Created in response to this year’s everything-changing pandemic, which forced a multitude of terrestrial businesses to amp up their online offerings, Gagosian’s Artist Spotlight series was a conspicuous success, featuring the likes of Dan Colen, Jenny Saville, even Damien Hirst. And inspired no doubt by said success (isolation, for some, has revealed new opportunities) the very high-profile gallery is this week unveiling “season two”—and although we can’t wait to step into a physical art space again much sooner than later, we are sort of hoping Artist Spotlight carries on long after that.

“During the first season of Spotlight we offered 14 works to the public, and sold 49,” reveals Alison McDonald, Gagosian’s Director of Publications, seemingly defying the laws of mathematics as we had been taught them. “So much interest was generated each week that we were able to invigorate a series of private sales as a result of the public presentation.”


Dry pigment and acrylic on paper
11 1/4 x 15 in
28.6 x 38.1 cm
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy Gagosian.

For those who prefer to think in terms of sheer numbers, the Spotlight campaigns generated nearly seventeen million impressions on Instagram, and caused the readership of Gagosian’s online Quarterly magazine to increase by more than 50 percent.

And so it all kicks off again this week with the mighty Ed Ruscha. The accomplished, multi-disciplinary Nebraskan has been an art world fixture since his debut in the late ’50s, as an Abstract Expressionist who deftly moved on from any such limiting classification. Having mastered and exhibited works of photography, painting, printmaking and film, it’s no surprise that even at 82, he is fully embracing the possibilities of the virtual art experience.

Ruscha’s five new works for Artist Spotlight (digitally on view through 9/22) present engaging phrases—like Riot Box and Odd Ad—with text that is smudged as if scrolled by too quickly, a comment on our constant and often blurred online lives, no doubt. That he’s first showing them in a virtual environment must be some sort of metaphysical coming together of meta and irony.


Artist Spotlight featured works on paper IRON CLAD, RIOT BOX, AT THAT, IT FITS, and ODD AD, all from 2020
Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Courtesy Gagosian.


Artist Liaison Leta Grzan explains, “The English language, which Ed has used in lieu of brushstrokes, products, etc., is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s. He continuously observes the world around him, and makes work that responds to it. He didn’t just pick an artistic lane and push it to its end, his lane is his own observations of the world, and art is his method of communication.”

Putting a period at the end of the dialogue around the new works, Lisa Turvey, editor of the catalogue raisonné of Ruscha’s works on paper, will also host on online conversation featuring herself, artist Adam McEwen, and Gagosian director Bob Monk, September 22 at 5pm EDT. To join the free event, register at

Image by Kate Simon. Courtesy Gagosian.
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