Hollywood in the Rain

Edward Ruscha (American, 1937-)
Lithograph on calendered Rives BFK paper; torn edges 
comp: 2 x 8-1/8 in. (5.1 x 20.6 cm); sheet: 7-1/8 x 12-1/4 in. (18.1 x 31.1 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift 
Accession Number:
© 2012 Edward Ruscha 
Not on View

In the late 1950s, Ed Ruscha moved from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles to pursue his artistic aspirations. Often addressing issues by using text and words, here Ruscha portrays the iconic sign in the Hollywood Hills, erected in 1923. The sign’s letters appear at the top of the hill, rather than mid-slope, as they actually are situated and as he would have seen them from his Western Avenue address. This exaggeration of the placement of the sign represents the illusion of Hollywood as others might see it in the collective consciousness.

Interestingly, playing further with the myth of Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign is depicted here in the rain. It does rain in Los Angeles, but not in the sunny Hollywood that exists as fantasy.

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