Tag Archives: Spaghetti Westerns

Photographer #455: Neil Krug

Neil Krug, 1983, USA, is a photographer and director based in Los Angeles. Together with his girlfriend, now wife, Joni Harbeck, he founded Pulp Art Book, a collection of photography and commercial work in limited edition prints, books and films. In 2011 he released the LP-sized Pulp Art Book: Volume One with images of Joni shot with polaroid film years past its sell-by date. The narrative photographs remind us of spaghetti westerns and the artistic expressions of the 60s and 70s in B-movies and on LP covers. Pulp Art Book: Volume Two is expected to be released in June of 2012. This time the Poliziotteschi films were a major influence. Neil has created a vast amount of CD / LP covers for bands as My Chemical Romance, Scissor Sisters, Ladytron and The Pierces. Among his commercial clients are Warner Bros. Records, Warp Records and Burton Snowboards. The following images come from the portfolios Ladytron – Gravity the Seducer, Pulp Art Book: Volume One and My Chemical Romance.

Website: www.neilkrug.com

Go See – Los Angeles: Ed Ruscha’s ‘Psycho Spaghetti Westerns’ at the Gagosian Gallery Beverly Hills Through April 9, 2011

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #5 (2010). All images via Gagosian Gallery

Currently on view at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills is a series of ten paintings by Ed Ruscha in an exhibition titled Psycho Spaghetti Westerns. The show opened with a star-studded evening gala on February 24th and is up through April 9, 2011. The ten large paintings each have a ground, most often natural and diagonally sloping across the canvas, on which realistically painted detritus is resting. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ruscha explains that the title has little to do with “Spaghetti Western” films and more to do with the meaning of the three words themselves: “‘Spaghetti Westerns’ says it all: tangled up messes like spaghetti, and we’re living out here in the West, and we’re all psycho.”

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #7 (2010)

More text and images after the jump…

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #3 (2010)

Words are noticeably absent in this series, except when they appear as brand names on a crumpled Bud Light box or a discarded mattress. The gallery describes the works as a “surreal extension” of the Course of Empire series that Ruscha produced for the 2005 Venice Biennial. That series was inspired by five paintings by Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole which depict the same landscape over time as it is transformed from pristine natural environment to  bustling metropolis and finally to desolate ruins. The current series of paintings engages those same themes of waste and the passage of timeRuscha actually found and took in many of the objects in the paintings while driving on the highway in California.

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #6 (2010)

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #4 (2010)

Together, the ten paintings at first seem to compose something akin to a 21st century vanitas. In place of skulls and dead flowers the Psycho Spaghetti Westerns have abandoned doors and trash heaps that encourage reflection on death—not so much of ourselves, though that is there too, but of objects in our consumer society. Ultimately, though, the paintings eschew morbidity and socio-political concerns about waste and instead envision a happy ending for these discarded items. In Ruscha’s world, garbage is resurrected as art.

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #8 (2010)

Ed Ruscha, Psycho Spaghetti Western #10 (2010)

-J. Mizrachi

Related Links:

Ed Ruscha at Gagosian Gallery [Gagosian Gallery]
Q&A: Ed Ruscha on ‘Psycho Spaghetti Westerns’ [LA Times]
Road to the Oscars [Purple Diary]