Ed Ruscha, ‘America Needs Hart (Signed) ’, 1983, Alpha 137: Prints and Exhibition Ephemera
Ed Ruscha, ‘America Needs Hart (Signed) ’, 1983, Alpha 137: Prints and Exhibition Ephemera
Ed Ruscha, ‘America Needs Hart (Signed) ’, 1983, Alpha 137: Prints and Exhibition Ephemera

Long before the Donna Rice sex scandal which would derail his political career half a decade later - in 1983 Gary Hart was a dashingly handsome, idealistic Democratic Senator from Colorado who captured the imagination of many liberals, including artists like Ed Ruscha who designed this campaign poster "America Needs Hart" in support of Hart's run against Walter Mondale in the 1983 Democratic primaries. By late 1983, Hart had risen moderately in the polls to the middle of the field, mostly at the expense of the sinking candidacies of John Glenn and Alan Cranston. Mondale won the Iowa caucus in late January, but Hart polled a respectable 16 percent. Two weeks later, in the New Hampshire primary, Hart shocked much of the party establishment and the media by defeating Mondale by 10 percentage points. Hart instantly became the main challenger to Mondale for the nomination - but, alas - that was not to be. (But it was in fact Hart's second run, involving a sordid sex scandal, that would ruin his presidential chances forever.) What remains of Gary Hart's near-forgotten candidacy is this idealistic campaign poster - and what makes it a true collectors item is that it is boldly signed in black marker by Ed Ruscha. A piece of American political and art history -- from the 1980s. Unframed and in very good vintage condition.

--Courtesy of Alpha 137 Gallery

Signature: Boldly signed in black marker lower by Ed Ruscha lower right recto. (front), also bears artist's copyright with printed name.

Publisher: Copyright Ed Ruscha, for Americans for Hart

Acquired from the Hart campaign.

About Ed Ruscha

Despite being credited with a Pop sensibility, Ed Ruscha defies categorization with his diverse output of photographic books and tongue-in-cheek photo-collages, paintings, and drawings. Ruscha’s work is inspired by the ironies and idiosyncrasies of life in Los Angeles, which he often conveys by placing glib words and phrases from colloquial and consumerist usage atop photographic images or fields of color. Known for painting and drawing with unusual materials such as gunpowder, blood, and Pepto Bismol, Ruscha draws attention to the deterioration of language and the pervasive cliches in pop culture, illustrated by his iconic 1979 painting I Don’t Want No Retro Spective. “You see this badly done on purpose, but the badly-done-on-purpose thing was done so well that it just becomes, let’s say, profound,” he once said. Equally renowned were his photographic books, in which he transferred the deadpan Pop style into series of images of LA—apartments, palm trees, or Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1962), his most famous work.

American, b. 1937, Omaha, Nebraska, based in Los Angeles, California