Ed Ruscha, a trailblazer of the Pop Art movement whose photography of gas stations along Route 66 helped jump-start his career, will be named the 12th Oklahoma Cultural Treasure during the Governor’s Arts Awards on Dec. 2.
Ruscha is the first such Oklahoma Cultural Treasure honoree since historian John Hope Franklin in 2004, reported The Oklahoman newspaper.
Ruscha’s Route 66 roots run deep. He is a graduate of Northwest Claasen High School, next to Route 66 in Oklahoma City. After moving to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s, he often drove U.S. 66 to visit family and friends in the Sooner State.
His photography book of 1963, “Twentysix Gasoline Stations,” showed images of such stations along Route 66 from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles. (Incidentally, prepare for sticker shock if you’re shopping for an original copy on Amazon — or anywhere else.)
Also, Ruscha’s brother, Paul Ruscha, opened an art gallery, El Gran Art Garage, in the Route 66 town of Winslow, Arizona.
(Image of Ed Ruscha explaining one of his “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” photos by libby rosof via Flickr)