That’s where the trouble begins

This ain't no picnic -- by Joe Reifer

This ain’t no picnic — by Joe Reifer

Q: How does the spectator fit in?

Ed Ruscha: That’s a good question, I don’t know. I’ll tell you, I don’t even think about it. It’s not my job to do that. It’s for other people to do that, maybe the critics. But I don’t think it’s all that necessary that the critics make the connections. Whether or not the work communicates anything to anyone is not important to me. The work is my indulgence. I don’t set out to get something across. I don’t think very many artists do. That’s where the trouble begins, when artists try to communicate.

From an interview with Ed Ruscha in: Leave Any Information at the Signal: Writings, Interviews, Bits, Pages
(originally published in Real Life Magazine, n. 14, summer 1985)

3 thoughts on “That’s where the trouble begins

  1. I feel that Mr. Ruscha’s sentiment in this quote is spot on. I get a sick joy out of hearing from people viewing my work talk about how the work communicates to them. Not setting out to get something across makes it feel like a fun lab experiment when something does come across to someone. Mix a few elements together into a photograph, and see what happens.

  2. Glad you reminded me of this. I’m in the grip of “trying to communicate” and I’m sick of it. My production has slowed even more than usual, spending too much time trying to understand tech.

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