The Cliburn

2013 Competition Artwork

Untitled (Cliburn Competition), 2011
Ed Ruscha
Specially for the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

“Ruscha has always approached his subjects, particularly architecture and landscape, from unique angles, exaggerating them to appear grand in an abstract and modern way. The Cliburn work is a classic Ruscha image.” -Michael Auping, chief curator, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Playing on his personal notion that “making art is like an involuntary reflex,” Ed Ruscha’s photograph, with its dramatic and inspiring perspective, depicts the piano keyboard as a seemingly limitless landscape of interpretive and creative possibility.


Born in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska, Edward Ruscha was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where his family moved in 1941. In 1956, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the Chouinard Art Institute and had his first solo exhibition in 1963 at the Ferus Gallery. In 1973, Ruscha began showing his work with the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City. He continues to live and work in Los Angeles and currently shows with Gagosian Gallery.

Ruscha has consistently combined the cityscape of his adopted hometown of Los Angeles with vernacular language to communicate a particular urban experience. Encompassing a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, photography, and artists’ books, his works hold a mirror up to the banality of urban life and give order to the barrage of media fed images and information confronting us daily. Ruscha’s early career as a graphic artist continues to strongly influence his aesthetic and thematic approach.

Ruscha has been the subject of numerous museum retrospectives that have traveled internationally, including those organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. In 2004, The Whitney Museum of American Art organized two simultaneous exhibitions: “Cotton Puffs, Q-tips®, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha,” which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and “Ed Ruscha and Photography.” In 2005, Ruscha was the U.S. representative at the 51st Venice Biennale. The traveling exhibition “Ed Ruscha, Photographer” opened at the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2006. A major exhibition of his work entitled “Ed Ruscha: Road Tested” was presented at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth from January to April 2011.

In 2001, Ruscha was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters as a member of the Department of Art. Leave Any Information at the Signal, a volume of his writings and interviews, was published by MIT Press in 2002, and the first comprehensive monograph on the artist, Richard Marshall’s Ed Ruscha, was published by Phaidon in 2003. A major retrospective, “Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting,” opened at the Hayward Gallery in London in October 2009 and traveled to the Haus der Kunst, Munich and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Biographical information from

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It is the mission of the Cliburn to advance classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of young artists.



The Cliburn is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors, elected for a four year term. It is sustained by the generous support from individuals, foundations, corporations, the tireless efforts of volunteers, and embraced by the community of Fort Worth. The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is a proud member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.


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