Ed Ruscha s. Los Angeles
If Schwartz’s book of four essays has a unifying theme, it is to highlight the self-fashioning that has dominated both Hollywood and Los Angeles artists like Ruscha. The book ranges across pop art, film, masculinity, feminist art, Dennis Hopper’s filmmaking, and Los Angeles’s urban landscape (a.k.a. art’s second city). Schwartz (who has edited a collection of Ruscha’s writings) says that her book is the first critical study to foreground the place of Ruscha’s work within the social and cultural history of 1960s Los Angeles, and, indeed, her essay on gender roles and gender fashioning reveals much about how artistic identities are forged in the City of Angels. As for Ruscha, Schwartz roots his curious brand of hyper-masculinity in anxiety about womenor, put somewhat differently, gender and sexuality.Given its critical sensibilities, the book may appeal more to academic readers than a general audience.