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America Her Best Product

Ruscha, Edward

America Her Best Product

4-color lithograph on paper, ed. 38/125

1976 Gift of Lorillard, NY

Edward Ruscha's work is not easily placed into any particular category or style. His hard-edge compositional technique and his choice of subject matter allied him with California Pop Art in the 1960s. His fascination with words and typography, exemplified by his printed books and word paintings, is associated with trends in 1970s Conceptual Art. Like other Pop artists, Ruscha began his career as a graphic artist. In 1960, he worked at an advertising agency, set type for a printer of art catalogues, and did layout design for "Art Forum" magazine. His early work experience stimulated an interest in combining image and text. In the 1960s, he combined commercial imagery, such as food products and corporate logos, with typography enlarged to emblematic, tongue-in-cheek landscapes.

Ruscha's "America Her Best Product" exemplifies his interest in typography and ideas associated with the printed word. The unmodulated colors and sharp focus of the printmaking technique used in "America Her Best Product" accommodated Ruscha's simple geometric forms and clean lines. Ruscha commented about this print, "Somewhere there should be a stamp or impression (I get the impression) that America has made herself. And isn't she her best product?"