Ed Ruscha - Very | Louisiana

I can’t shake the sneaking suspicion that Ed Ruscha’s partly to blame for the inspirational quote pictures that are a solid building block of so many Instagram accounts these days. Which is maybe a bit unfair, but at least pays tribute to the range of his influence.

It’s his works on paper, including sketches and a variety of books he’s published over the decades, that are the focus of this show. At this unbelievably fancy gallery, surrounded by tourists and middle-aged Danish couples in designer glasses and complicated sportswear, the reasons for that influence are laid bare.

Installation view

His brightly-coloured, wordy prints are what has made Ruscha an icon. But he’s a really great draughtsman, too. One gorgeous series that caught my eye is a room full of sketches of one of his favourite subjects: the Hollywood sign. And particularly evocative was a tiny pencil work, of the sign in the rain.

Showing me, at least, that the artist doesn’t need the mass-produced prints, or even the colours. He only needs a pencil.

Ed Ruscha - Very is at the Louisiana (Copenhagen). 17 May - 19 August 2018