In the spring of 2004, Gerhard Steidl, the German publisher came to LA to work with my brother Ed Ruscha on a book project documenting Hollywood Blvd. After a full day of shooting that street, we all went to Musso & Frank’s Grill, Hollywood’s oldest restaurant. Gerhard told me that we should allow an extra chair at our table as he was expecting to have the photographer of a new book he was publishing to come from San Francisco and join us. Gerhard is a multi-tasker who meets with many artists who are preparing to print their books with him in Steidlville – his publishing empire in Göttingen, Germany. He allots specific times to discuss ideas with the artists, usually during the production of his many other projects, so his timing is always short and precise, and one is lucky if given more than a few concentrated moments to clarify their presentations with him. I ordered my meal, and a bit later a beautiful woman appeared behind me. Gerhard stood up and they spoke German briefly as he embraced her, and I got up and hugged her, too, as it seemed like we’d known one-another for a long time. Gerhard repeated her name – Mona Kuhn – and she sat down next to me and from then until we finished dinner, we never stopped talking. She was a force of energy I hadn’t experienced in a long time, and I therefore welcomed our initial acquaintance, and said I truly hoped to see her again. Then we all bid a reluctant goodnight to her.
For Mona's interview with Paul Ruscha, please visit Issue Magazine