Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Manuscript page

Ed Ruscha (American, b. 1937), preliminary notes for Some Los Angeles Apartments, 1965. Ink and pencil on paper with color samples, 27.9 x 21.5 cm. Edward Ruscha Papers and Art Collection, 1.8 © Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance August 11, 2018–January 6, 2019

Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance is the first major exhibition drawn from the Ransom Center's Edward Ruscha Papers and Art Collection. Featuring more than 150 objects, the exhibition presents Ruscha's celebrated books, photographs, drawings, and prints alongside unpublished archival production materials, layout sketches, and studio notebooks.

Organized by Dr. Jessica S. McDonald, the Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography, Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance examines the stages of conception, design, and production leading to the publication of Ruscha's groundbreaking artist's books, and provides audiences with an unprecedented look into Ruscha's creative process.

At the same time, Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance explores Ruscha's persistent engagement with the artifacts of American popular culture, including vernacular architecture, commercial signage, the iconography of the road, and the manufactured romance of Hollywood. The exhibition explores the ways in which the motifs introduced in those landmark books—motifs such as the gasoline station, the apartment building, the palm tree, and the swimming pool—have inspired later works in other media.

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Stories to Tell

Stories to Tell: Selections from the Harry Ransom Center REVOLVING EXHIBITION ALWAYS ON VIEW

What is the Harry Ransom Center? The answer to this question reveals a cultural institution with a variety of roles – an internationally renowned humanities research center, rare book library, archives, conservation laboratory, and museum. Seemingly complex, the Ransom Center operates on a simple proposition – to share and celebrate the creative process.

The extraordinary collection represents a deep well of creativity and reveals how leading literary figures, photographers, artists, actors, and filmmakers created their works – from genesis of an idea to completion of a masterpiece. Many stories can be told from the Center's extensive holdings. This exhibition reveals some of those stories.

Currently, the exhibition features items from a range of collections including:


Visit throughout the year to see changing displays of artifacts, photographs, and documents.


Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible is the first substantial book printed from movable type on a printing press. The Ransom Center holds one of five complete copies in the United States.

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First Photograph

First Photograph

The First Photograph was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. The image depicts the view from an upstairs window at Niépce's estate, Le Gras, in the Burgundy region of France.

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