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The Films of Ed Ruscha

Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha has made only three (rarely-shown) films, all dating from near the start of his career. Recently unearthed and restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, The Books of Ed Ruscha features Ruscha’s childhood friend, musician and comedy writer Mason Williams, knocking back sundowners on a patio as he solemnly incants and irreverently manhandles the limited-edition art objects of the film’s title. Ruscha’s second film, Premium, a self-parody of the artist as a young man, starring L.A. artist Larry Bell, is a filmic adaptation of his photobook Crackers, based on a short story by Williams. The last film, Miracle, has artist Jim Ganzer playing an auto-mechanic who undergoes a metamorphosis while repairing the carburetor of a ’65 Ford Mustang.

The Books of Ed Ruscha | 1968-69. 38 min. 16mm
Premium | 1971. 24 min. DVD  
Miracle | 1975. 28 min. DVD

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Produced by Presentation House Gallery in collaboration with The Cinematheque, as one of the gallery’s penultimate events before the inauguration of its new space, The Polygon Gallery, on the North Vancouver waterfront. Programmed by Michèle Smith.