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Edward Ruscha photographs of Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, 1965-2010

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Ruscha (Edward) Photographs

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is comprised of material related to Ed Ruscha's photographic documentation of two major Los Angeles thoroughfares: Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, as well as materials pertaining to the projects that resulted from the documentation of the two streets.

Ruscha documented Sunset Boulevard in twelve shoots between 1965 and 2001 using a motorized camera mounted on a tripod in the bed of his pickup truck. The shoots covered the twenty-five mile length of Sunset Boulevard and included both sides of the street. In 1966 Ruscha self-published his fourth photographic art book, the iconic Every Building on the Sunset Strip, which reproduced the images from his 1966 shoot. He reworked six of the original 1966 images for his portfolio Sunset Strip 1965/1995, produced with the art dealer and gallerist Patrick Painter in 1995.

Series I: Sunset Boulevard, contains approximately 5,000 original negatives and 90 contact sheets from the 1966, 1976, and 1998 shoots; the original film rolls (on seven negative and seven positive rolls) from the seven shoots made between 1973 and 1997 (excluding 1976); six videotapes that represent the 2000 and 2001 shoots; and corresponding documentation. It also contains the production materials for Every Building on the Sunset Strip and the 1995 portfolio. Materials pertaining to the book span from negatives and contact sheets from the earliest documentation attempts (circa 1965) to Jerry McMillan's 1965 preliminary contact prints and mock-ups, to the finished book. Included are circa 800 negatives and 64 contact sheets, Ruscha's mock-ups and maquettes, proofs, press pulls, and proof and final copies of the book, and a record book containing lists of expenses for shooting and printing and lists of books both gifted and sold. The later portfolio is represented by negatives and prints used for selecting the final images or test shots, "scratched" (i.e. altered) negatives and prints, and a small amount of documentation pertaining to the project.

Series II: Hollywood Boulevard, contains materials resulting from Ruscha's documentation of that thoroughfare between 1973 and 2004. The four shoots (1973, 2002, 2003, and 2004) covered twelve miles and included both sides of the street. Included are the original 1973 still images (circa 4,600 negatives and 29 contact sheets containing circa 4,500 frames) and the later images shot on still film (circa 14,000 negatives and two positive film reels) and video (2 videos), as well as documentation pertaining to the original shoot. Still images from all of the shoots are also compiled on CDs.

In 2005 the German publisher and master printer, Gerhard Steidl, published Then & Now: Hollywood Boulevard 1973-2004, in both a limited edition portfolio and as a trade book. In these works Ruscha's original 1973 images run parallel to their 2004 versions, recording the changes that had occurred to the thoroughfare over three decades. As with Every Building on the Sunset Strip the images of the north side of the boulevard run along the top of the sheet or page, while those of the south side of the boulevard run inverted along its bottom.

Also included in Series II are the production materials for the project, ranging from index prints, initial layouts, proof sheets, and dummies, to examples of the final products. Documentation includes maps, street name and numbering systems, image sequence lists, and memos on working and production procedures.


The collection is comprised of two series:
Series I: Sunset Boulevard, 1965-2010, undated;
Series II: Hollywood Boulevard, 1973-2005, undated.

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