Fruit-Metrecal Hollywood

Ed Ruscha

By 1970, Ruscha's printmaking had become distinctly avant-garde and he felt driven to experiment with unconventional "inks" such as beer, blood and chocolate. His Chocolate Room at the 1970 Venice Biennale was one of the stand-out presentations that year, and, returning to LA, he had a mind to push the boundaries of finding out what might be possible and stable as a potential medium.

The establishment of Jean Milant's Cirrus Editions and Cirrus Gallery that year provided Ruscha with the facilities and technical backup he needed. Milant, formerly of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, had by then a long association with Ruscha and the stated raison d'etre of Cirrus was to print and publish editions with California artists. Ruscha had the idea to make two prints based on his Hollywood image, but with a metaphoric subtext buried in the materials themselves. Pepto-Caviar Hollywood would be screenprinted from Caviar and Pepto-Bismol, representing the excesses of a hedonistic Los Angeles life, and Fruit-Metrecal Hollywood printed from jam and the diet drink Metrecal, representing pointless vanity.

During the experimentation for this print, Ruscha tried out a number of jams (grape, apricot, strawberry and boysenberry) as well as Sego chocolate, Bosco (a chocolate syrup), and salmon before arriving at the desired combination of ingredients.

This proof impression reveals little or no trace of the notoriously fugitive Metrecal, which had a pink colour, however its absence, and the particularly even screening of the fruit jam, results in a particularly strong graphic of the word HOLLYWOOD, comparing very favourably for example with a copies from the edition in the collections of LACMA, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the De Young museum of San Francisco, amongst other institutions.

Ed Ruscha (b.1937)
Fruit-Metrecal Hollywood
Screenprint on Copperplate Deluxe paper
14 1/2 x 42 in : 36.8 x 106.7 cm
Printer's proof aside from the edition of 85
Edition Notes
There are only two recorded printer's proofs of this work
The artist and Bernard Jacobson Ltd., London
Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles; printed by Jean Milant and Jane Aman; collaboration and supervision by Jean Milant
Three colours printed in two runs from grape and apricot jams and Metrecal: 1. Grape jam, apricot jam - screen; 2. Metrecal - screen
Engberg 53


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