Joe Goode has long made pictures designed to be looked through, not at. His work is deadpan, and seemingly innocuous. The LA Times critic William Wilson, in 1971, called it ‘neutrality-style art’. Perhaps this mildness is why he never got quite as much attention as his childhood friend Ed Ruscha, who also does deadpan but who usually cuts his neutrality with non-sequiturs (often verbal) that are arresting and funny.
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.”