12 Sunsets: Exploring Ed Ruscha's Archive

"Drive" down Sunset Boulevard between 1965 and 2007 in a new interactive experience
Photographs of Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, 1965–2010
Photographs of Los Angeles streets, 1974–2010

Explore Ed Ruscha's Streets of Los Angeles archives on our new Research Collections Viewer

This project digitizes a pioneering collection generated by one of the world's most recognized artists. The innovative digitization and exhibition of this archive makes public for the first time a resource for scholars of history, art, architecture, and urban studies.

The project poses questions such as: How does the archive influence conceptions of postwar photography, vernacular architecture, and the city of Los Angeles? What visual, textual, or quantitative information is meaningful to research? How might the data generated from this body of work be leveraged in innovative ways?

Answers to such questions informed parallel development of a public-facing digital humanities platform, thus ensuring that the applications built for the archive correspond closely to the needs and expectations of the scholarly community that might access these images. Concurrently, the Research Institute aims to demonstrate the potential of advanced computing tools and workspaces for digital image analysis by collaborating with a group of scholars on projects related to the archive using the technologies developed for its access.

Ruscha's collection includes several hundred thousand images, hundreds of contact sheets, and the complete production archive for the artist's canonical book Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966). These materials have been previously unavailable for research, scholarship, or exhibition and are a unique record of the gradual evolution of Los Angeles's built environment.