EDWARD RUSCHA NAMED NEW SECRETARY
WASHINGTON, DC - President George W. Bush has nominated the noted American artist Edward Ruscha as the new Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology to lead his ambitious agenda for cultural reform. The President's selection of Ruscha, who will represent the US at the 2005 Venice Biennale, was inspired by the artist's body of work that is uniquely American in both subject and sensibility.
Long regarded as an American master, Ed Ruscha has redefined the way we see the urban landscape, and, for that matter, the American landscape as a whole. Ruscha's intimacy with the essence of America, its free-spiritedness, is best expressed in his own words, "I like to think of myself as an ambling rambling person who doesn't have to concern himself with time: that's what we all dream about isn't it?"
The surprise announcement of the nomination of Edward Ruscha was issued Monday from the White House. "Ed is already known to Americans, and to much of the world," President Bush exclaimed in a brief statement. "His vision has touched America's soul through the beauty and boldness of his art, transforming city planning maps into sublime landscapes. The Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology is America's cultural face to the world and I'm honored that Ed has agreed to serve in my Cabinet."
Outgoing Secretary, Randall M. Packer, after three years traveling the nation and the world promoting the role of the artist as a mediator on the world stage, was increasingly seen by the White House as not being up to the task of promoting the President's cultural agenda during the second term. Now that President Bush has won his final campaign and holds high a gleaming national mandate, he can be more himself, he can aggressively pursue cultural reform that is more distinctly American without requiring the decidedly European, avant-garde influence of Secretary Packer. According to the President, "I call on Ed Ruscha to reach out to Americans of every belief and move this good-hearted nation toward a culture of life. Ed's wonderfully idiosyncratic nature reflects the hard working people of America."
The President's distrust of Hollywood and the moral decay of urban America was one of the decisive factors in his decision to nominate Ruscha. "Ed is a man of faith and a believer to the end. Ed Ruscha warns us that Los Angeles might be a mirage and California a myth - a façade about to crumble into the desert, a set about to liquefy into the sea. Most families don't look to Hollywood for a source of values. The heart and soul of America is found in places like Oklahoma, where Ed grew up."
The nomination was based on the recommendation of a group of distinguished museum directors and curatorial authorities from four American museums. Ned Rifkin, Director of the Hirshhorn and Under Secretary of Art, said, "Ed Ruscha is one of those artists who has survived his work, he was never like the rest, his words and phrases revolve around the topography of language, and now he has graduated into a very senior position." Whitney Director Adam D. Weinberg describes Ruscha as having "a singular vision of America, he forces us to examine impassive iconography and the landscape of the ordinary, compelling us to look anew at the astonishing strangeness of the world."
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