Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

When Ruscha moved to Los Angeles in 1956 to study commercial design at the Chouinard Art Institute, he was drawn to the proliferation of visual and textual information in the urban landscape. He began to examine language, pop culture, and Hollywood’s distinctive streets and architecture, notably in his 1960s photography books, prints, and paintings. Highland, Franklin, Yucca builds on this earlier work. Here Ruscha derived the textual diagram from Hollywood’s street grid, while he copied the landscape from a book on the Himalayas. As Ruscha has suggested, the mountains also evoke the snowcapped peak of the Paramount Pictures film studio logo. The smoky beige cloud, however, interferes with the legibility crucial for commercial logos. Unlike commercial design, Ruscha’s painting confuses rather than communicating a clear message. Its conflicting modes of visual presentation mimic the experience of processing disjunctive information in the contemporary urban world.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Edward Ruscha, American (Omaha, NE born 1937)
Highland, Franklin, Yucca
Work Type
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Acrylic on canvas
152.4 x 154.9 cm (60 x 61 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: On verso, in graphite: Ed Ruscha 1999
  • label: On verso, affixed to stretcher: HIGHLAND, FRANKLIN, YUKKA // ACRYLIC ON CANVAS // 60 X 60" (152.7 x 152.7 cm.) // EDWARD RUSCHA 1999 CODE #P.99.30
[Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, California], sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2000.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Laura-Lee W. Woods, an anonymous donor, the Broad Art Foundation, Fifth Floor Foundation, The Charles Engelhard Foundation, Catherine and Paul Buttenwieser Foundation, Bruce A. Beal, and William Danoff
© Ed Ruscha
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Publication History

Richard D. Marshall, Edward Ruscha: Made in Los Angeles, exh. cat., p. 196

Richard D. Marshall, Ed Ruscha, Phaidon Press Limited (London and New York, 2003), repr. p. 249 (color)

Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), p. 252, ill.

Exhibition History

Landmark Pictures: Ed Ruscha/Andreas Gursky, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 01/08/2000 - 03/19/2000

Looking at America, Yale University Art Gallery, 04/23/2002 - 07/28/2002

Recent work of Ed Ruscha, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 02/13/2004 - 04/11/2004

Contemporary Art from the Harvard University Art Museums Collections, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/23/2007 - 01/31/2008

32Q: 1100 60’s Experiment, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 04/10/2018

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

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