–Ed Ruscha, “Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Fire”Ruscha painted this image of the destruction of a major L.A. landmark in 1968. At the time, the new, William Pereira-designed wings of LACMA were widely despised by local culturati for being too staid, too ponderous, almost Nazi-like in their oppressiveness; so it’s possible this painting is a basic comment on local attitudes toward the place. (If you look closely, you can see it’s less a depiction of the actual museum, than of a design maquette of the museum).Critics and curators, on the other hand, as critics and curators often do, have strained to interpret Ruscha’s painting as a comment on the “isolation of museums from the general culture.” Whatever.
We know another likely source of inspiration for the great Ruscha’s image of wanton destruction-by-fire: It is, after all, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, so conflagration and destruction is likely an inevitable part of its very DNA.

–Ed Ruscha, “Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Fire”

Ruscha painted this image of the destruction of a major L.A. landmark in 1968. At the time, the new, William Pereira-designed wings of LACMA were widely despised by local culturati for being too staid, too ponderous, almost Nazi-like in their oppressiveness; so it’s possible this painting is a basic comment on local attitudes toward the place. (If you look closely, you can see it’s less a depiction of the actual museum, than of a design maquette of the museum).

Critics and curators, on the other hand, as critics and curators often do, have strained to interpret Ruscha’s painting as a comment on the “isolation of museums from the general culture.” Whatever.


We know another likely source of inspiration for the great Ruscha’s image of wanton destruction-by-fire: It is, after all, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, so conflagration and destruction is likely an inevitable part of its very DNA.