Mews, Pews, Brews, Stews & Dues

Ed Ruscha's News, Mews, Pews, Brews, Stews & Dues print series presents a captivating exploration of language through a selection of words ending in '-ews'. Produced in 1970, this screenprint series combines Ruscha's fascination with typography, the fluidity of language, and its visual form, encapsulating a unique blend of the everyday with the conceptual, challenging viewers to find coherence and narrative within these seemingly disparate elements.

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Meaning & Analysis

Ed Ruscha’s News, Mews, Pews, Brews, Stews & Dues series stands as a testament to his enduring fascination with the architecture of language and its visual representation. Each print within the series focuses on a single word, rendered in stark typography against flat, monochromatic backgrounds. This simplicity in design belies the complexity of the series’ exploration into the nuances of language, sound, and meaning.

The choice of words, each rhyming with 'ews', operates on multiple levels. Phonetically, the words are linked, creating a rhythmic and auditory connection that is both playful and thought-provoking. Semantically, however, the words span a broad spectrum of meanings and associations, from the quotidian to the sacred, the culinary to the financial. This juxtaposition invites the viewer to engage in a mental navigation between the words, pondering their individual significance and collective resonance.

Ruscha’s interest in the intersection between word and image is evident in how the series prompts considerations of language as a visual medium. The uniform presentation of the words forces a focus on their form as much as on their meaning, highlighting the artist’s investigation into typography as an essential element of visual art. This series, therefore, not only challenges the boundaries between textual and visual art but also between the signifier and the signified, encouraging a deeper reflection on how meaning is constructed and perceived.

Moreover, the News, Mews, Pews, Brews, Stews & Dues series reflects Ruscha's ongoing engagement with the landscape of American culture and the vernacular that defines it. By isolating and elevating everyday words into the realm of art, Ruscha invites a reconsideration of the ordinary, encouraging viewers to find beauty and significance in the language of daily life.

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