Artists Ed Ruscha and Joe Goode grew up together, in every possible respect. They shared Southern childhoods in the 1940s; California art-school educations at the end of the ‘50s; trips to New York in the ‘60s. “In those days, you couldn’t think of making a living as an artist,” Goode told us, on the phone with Interview and his friend Ed Ruscha a few weeks ago. “Nobody made a living as an artist, unless you taught.”
In his 1435 treatise De pictura, the Renaissance-era philosopher Leon Battista Alberti notably laid out the rules for history painting, or istoria, in which rules of perspective and creating a lifelike esemblance to nature, with a clear emphasis on notions of beauty and visual pleasure, are given top priority. Equally important for Alberti was the idea that the spectator of a painting ought to be able to conceptually enter into that picture.