Ed Ruscha: Industrial Strength is published on the occasion of the artist's completion of "Industrial Strength Sleep," a 23-foot by 9-foot tapestry created at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia and based on his 1989 painting of the same name. In his introductory essay, curator Paul Schimmel explains the artist's process: "Though Ruscha has consistently pushed the boundaries of his own iconography, which typically comprises concrete words and phrases, it is in fact his range of materials and processes that has characterized the ever-changing and restless nature of his practice." The piecewhich took three years to completewas produced at Flanders Tapestries in Wielsbeke, Belgium; Mary Anne Friel, Master Printer at The Fabric Workshop, oversaw production. The publication also includes an essay by art historian and critic Thomas E. Crow.
Over the course of his nearly 40-year career, Ruscha, who was the United States representative at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005, has consistently used the expansive landscape of Los Angeleswhere he has lived and worked since the late 1950sin his paintings as a backdrop for the often humorous vernacular phrases with which he communicates a particular urban experience.