NORMAN — Twenty University of Oklahoma students will begin a road trip Wednesday that re-enacts artist Ed Ruscha's “Twentysix Gasoline Stations,” a 1963 visual documentary of a road trip Ruscha took from California to his home state of Oklahoma.
The students are taking the same trip in reverse order, traveling from Oklahoma to California and finishing the journey with a meeting with the artist.
“Twentysix Gasoline Stations” is one of Ruscha's highly collectible works.
The idea to reproduce his landmark trip originated with Todd Stewart, associate professor of photography and associate director of the OU School of Art and Art History, and Ghislain d'Humieres, the Wylodean and Bill Saxon director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.
The “Road to Ruscha” trip will continue through May 24 and incorporate current technological components, including real-time GPS tracking and multimedia iPad reactions to the trip by the students, all of which will be viewable by visitors to the art museum, as well as on the museum's website.
“Along the journey, participants will engage in a variety of collaborative projects and site visits derived from the works of Edward Ruscha and, specifically, from the original 26 gasoline stations pictured in the book,” Stewart said.
By the numbers, 20 students from multiple disciplines will travel 3,000 miles over 10 days, with stops scheduled at the sites of most of the stations featured in Ruscha's book. Participating disciplines are art and art history, geography, meteorology, geology, film and media studies, and advertising.