From the Field

Road to Ruscha at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

June 14, 2013

Road to Ruscha was a collaborative, multidisciplinary, conceptual art project inspired by Ed Ruscha’s painting, No Man’s Land, and the 50th anniversary of his landmark book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations. The central element of the project was a road trip from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles, following in reverse order Ruscha’s original trips of 1962. Primary participants included 20 students and faculty from the University of Oklahoma representing diverse fields of study such as art, art history, environmental sustainability, and geography. The group pursued four areas of inquiry on the trip: Histories/Narratives; Artifacts; Cartography; and Morphology.

Along the journey, participants engaged in a variety of collaborative projects and site visits derived from the original 26 gasoline stations pictured in Ruscha’s book. The project existed in both physical and virtual space with real-time collaboration between those "on the road" and visitors to the project’s website. Museum visitors also could track participants' progress on the journey inside the museum's Sandy Bell Gallery. Media and technology were used to facilitate this collaboration and emphasize the nature of contemporary experiences of land, place, and culture. The 3,000-mile road trip took place over 10 days in May 2013. The students' journey and multimedia responses have been archived on the project’s website and the press release is available on the museum's website for more information.

Road to Ruscha was sponsored by the Kirkpatrick Foundation, the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, the OU School of Art and Art History, and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.


Image: Students and faculty from the University of Oklahoma with Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art director Ghislain d'Humieres before embarking on their Road to Ruscha journey.