Ed Ruscha

DO ING is a large and important work on paper from the early 1970s, and is the very first to exhibit the fractured setting of a common word, which gives the viewer pause to question the meaning of what they are reading.

Excerpt from Robert Enright, "The Painted Whirred: Ed Ruscha's Spin on Language" (interview), Border Crossings 106 (May 2008), pp. 44-46:

Border Crossings: Sometimes the ambiguity comes in the way you position the letters and the syllables in space.

Ed Ruscha: Maybe I've wondered why I don't fracture these words up and make them abstract. If I did that, people would say "Wait a minute, this doesn't make sense." This is supposed to make sense and most of my things do. But I'll do that every so often, like I'll letterspace a word in an odd way that seems to answer what I need to do at the time.

BC: Even DO-ING is broken in that way, isn't it? Are those decisions that come to you in the making or are they pre-planned, to invoke a word that you use? You say the art has to be preplanned so that it sounds as if there isn't a lot of serendipity or accident that happens in the making.

ER:. Sometimes. There's never any golden rule for what happens when I start working on something like that. With that word, I wanted to do D-O-I-N-G, but it could have been an accident and something slipped and I was making a pattern for it and then it became two words, like "do" and "ing." But I don't keep records of anything like that and I don't usually plan them.

The second image (right) shows some of the many publications in which Ed Ruscha's DO ING is reproduced and discussed.

Edward Ruscha (b.1937)
Pastel on paper
22 3/4 x 28 5/8 in : 57.8 x 72.7 cm
Signed and dated on the reverse 'Edward Ruscha 1973', lower centre
Collection of James Meeker and Peter Gill; Collection of Peter Gill, San Antonio; Janie Beggs Gallery, Beverly Hills; Collection of Tom O'Gara, Los Angeles
"The Works of Edward Ruscha," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Mar 25-May 23, 1982, and travelling to; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Jul 8-Sep 5, 1982; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Oct 4-Nov 28, 1982; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Dec 27, 1982-Feb 20, 1983; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Mar 17-Apr 17, 1983 (part 1); exh. cat. pl.72 (col. illus.)
Lisa Turvey, "Edward Ruscha Catalogue Raisonné of the Works on Paper: Volume One: 1956-1976," Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2014, p.357, D.1973.86 (col. illus.); Edward Ruscha, "Guacamole Airlines and other drawings by Edward Ruscha, Abrams, New York, 1980, pl.31 (col. illus.); Robert C. Morgan "Pastel, Juice and Gunpowder: The Pico Iconography of Ed Ruscha," Journal: A Contemporary Art Magazine (Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art) 3, no. 10 (Sep-Oct 1981), p.31; "My Kid Could Do That," Spy, June 1989, p.107 (illus.); Ed Ruscha, "They Called Her Styrene", Phaidon, London, 2000, n.p. (col. illus.); Robert Enright, "The Painted Whirred: Ed Ruscha's Spin on Language" (interview), Border Crossings 106 (May 2008), pp. 44-46
Registered by the Edward Ruscha studio under no. D1973.86