More than fifty years after On the Road was released, Jack Kerouac still has a lot of local followers, in part because some of the novel was set in Denver. That makes Ed Ruscha: On the Road, at the Denver Art Museum, a must-see show for many. For this body of work, the West Coast-based Ruscha takes quotes from Kerouac's book and places them on photo-based backgrounds.
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"The novel chronicles Kerouac's Western sojourn," explains Thomas Smith, director of the DAM's Petrie Institute of Western American Art, "and the few weeks he spent in Denver figure significantly in On the Road." The artist, too, has something of a connection to the city and the region, which makes Smith's decision to mount this work twice as winning. "Ruscha frequently incorporates the iconography of the American West in his works," notes Smith. "For example, the major mural he did in the Denver Public Library." In that piece, words are superimposed on air-brushed images of wagons, trains and other Western-themed symbols.
On the Road will be unveiled today on level 2 of the Hamilton Building, and will run through April 22 at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. For more information, call 720-865-5000 or go to www.denverartmuseum.org.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Dec. 24. Continues through April 22, 2011