Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Vaudeville

Vaudeville! January 29–July 15, 2018

For more than a century, vaudeville was the most popular form of American entertainment and one of the country's largest cultural exports. Performances on the vaudeville stage included comic sketches, magic, acrobatics, animal tricks, blackface performance, celebrity appearances, early film, and more. Shows featuring immigrant acts, racial stereotypes, and frequent appeals to nationalism defined a complex and often problematic sense of American identity at the turn of the 19th century.

The exhibition features the Ransom Center's extensive holdings of Harry Houdini, Tony Pastor, and Florenz Ziegfeld, among others, to show the development of vaudeville's highly organized form and its long-lasting impact on contemporary film, television, and comedy.

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Notebook

Pages from one of Ed Ruscha's journals, ca. 1969.

Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance August 13, 2018–January 6, 2019

In his examination of ordinary material culture and everyday architecture, internationally renowned contemporary artist Ed Ruscha has functioned as an archeologist of sorts, analyzing objects, images, words, and other artifacts he encounters. After a trip to Europe with his mother and brother in 1961, Ruscha returned to Los Angeles with a new sense of appreciation for and curiosity about American popular culture, noticing vernacular structures, commercial signage, the iconography of the road, and the manufactured romance of Hollywood. These themes pervade the artist's books he produced in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance will introduce Ruscha's groundbreaking books to those not yet familiar with his work, while displaying previously unavailable archival materials. The exhibition focuses on an artist whose engagement with the book form has changed the art world.

This exhibition will include about 200 items from the Ransom Center's Ed Ruscha Papers and Art Collection including notebooks, manuscripts, layout sketches, business records, photographs, lithographs, screenprints, a poster, and books.