Artist Ed Ruscha is one of the most significant American artists of the 20th century. Over his long career, Ruscha has played with the fluidity of language and the sublime in landscapes, and looked at advertising as a form, symbol, and material in painting. He also has produced one of the most significant artistic records of Los Angeles through his “Streets of Los Angeles” project.

The project has lasted over 50 years, producing over half a million photographs of the city in a systematic attempt to document major streets in LA, including Melrose Avenue, Pacific Coast Highway, and Sunset Boulevard.

The Getty Research Institute acquired the archive in 2011 and has been working to digitize the massive collection and make it accessible to both the public and scholars of history, art, architecture, urban studies, and more.

Ed Ruscha is a recipient of the 2019 Getty Medal for contributions to the arts. In this short video, hear about his work and impact from his brother and longtime collaborator Paul Ruscha, his studio manager Susan Haller, and Andrew Perchuk of the Getty Research Institute.

ANDREW PERCHUK: Well, I think the Streets of LA Archive is probably the most significant artistic record of a city, certainly in the United States, and maybe in the world.

Ed doesn’t like being called either a pop artist or a conceptual artist, but his paintings of both words and th...