Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide, introduced by Alice Pratt Brown Director Adam D. Weinberg, highlights a diverse range of works from the exhibition Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection. Artists John Baldessari, Gregory Crewdson, Eric Fischl, Jasper Johns, Glenn Ligon, and Mark Tansey provide additional commentary.


Edward Ruscha (b. 1937), _The Act of Letting a Person into Your Home_, 1983. Oil on canvas, 84 x 137 5/8in. (213.4 x 349.6 cm). Partial gift of Emily Fisher Landau 2002.280 © Ed Ruscha; photograph by Jerry L. Thompson

NARRATOR: “The Act of Letting a Person into Your Home.” The cryptic phrase floats over an equally ambiguous backdrop—a fiery sunset, perhaps. The saturated hues call to mind Technicolor cinema, the shape of the canvas a movie screen. Or the shape and scale might suggest a billboard, broadcasting a haunting message to freeway drivers. But we don’t see anything relevant to the phrase itself—no house, no doorway, no person.

Ruscha is as interested in the expressive possibility of language as he is in that of visual imagery. The artist once explained, “A lot of my paintings are anonymous backdrops for the drama of words.” The phrase, “The Act of Letting a Person Into Your Home,” itself becomes an object here—as much as a house, doorway, or person would be. In a different context, the words might be neutral, but in Ruscha’s painting, they become dark and enigmatic. The phrase, juxtaposed with the fiery sunset, becomes a kind of screen onto which we project our own anxieties and associations.