Ed Ruscha and the Standard Gas Station

August 16, 2014

Ed Ruscha, 60’s artist, and the Standard Gas Station

Unframed The LACMA Blog

“It has to be called an icon; that’s the main thing about that painting…It became a motif for me to explore in other ways, too. I saw it as a loaf of bread; I saw it as several other things.”—Ed Ruscha on the painting Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas (1963) in 1981.

In the early twentieth century, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was the largest company in the world, selling more than half the petroleum products in the United States. In 1911 the federal government broke it up into seven “Baby Standards,” one of largest of which was Standard Oil of Southern California. The reach of this Baby Standard stretched from the Pacific Ocean to Texas, and it retained the Standard brand name until 1984, when it officially became Chevron. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Ed Ruscha frequently drove Route 66 from Los Angeles to his family…

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