About this artwork
Ed Ruscha radically changed the basis for art with his photobooks, the earliest of which appeared in 1963 with the matter-of-fact title Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Photographed on Route 66 between Los Angeles, where Ruscha still lives and works, and his hometown of Oklahoma City, the book heralded fundamentally influential turns in contemporary art: to vernacular corporate architecture and the branding of public space; to critical and creative possibilities found on the interstate highway; and to the impersonal, banal, and random as sources of inspiration. Ruscha interspersed pictures of industry giants such as Standard, Shell, or Texaco with others of mom-and-pop stations. He never showed the photographs but instead presented the coolly designed books (eighteen in all, recently acquired by the Art Institute along with a selection of the original photographs) in galleries, where the asking price of a few dollars apiece confounded purchasers of his paintings and drawings; and at bookstores, where they failed equally to attract buyers for many years. Yet, by equating an artist’s book with a dime novel, Ruscha achieved his desire to “be the Henry Ford of book making.”
Currently Off View
- Edward Joseph Ruscha
- Standard—Figueroa St.
- United States
- Made 1962
- Gelatin silver print, from "Twentysix Gasoline Stations"
- 19.1 × 24 cm (image); 20.3 × 25.2 cm (paper)
- Photography Gala Fund; restricted gift of Martin and Danielle Zimmerman and the Comer Foundation
- © 1962 Ed Ruscha.