Ed Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations tops Gagosian book expert Doug Flamm’s holiday wish list

by leslierankowfinearts

Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha

EARLIER THIS YEAR AT THE DE YOUNG MUSEUM IN SAN FRANCISCO, ED RUSCHA AND THE GREAT AMERICAN WEST FEATURED 99 WORKS BY ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL AND ACCLAIMED ARTISTS. THE EXHIBITION EXPLORED RUSCHA’S LIFELONG FASCINATION WITH THE WEST AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO OUR COUNTRY’S HISTORY AND PIONEER CHARACTER. THE GASOLINE STATION, AS AN AMERICAN ICON, HAS LONG BEEN AN IMPORTANT SUBJECT IN RUSCHA’S WORK AND ONE OF RUSCHA’S MOST OUTSTANDING TRIBUTES ON THIS SUBJECT IS THE ARTIST’S BOOK HE CREATED IN 1962.

 

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IN THE 1960s AND EARLY 1970s ED RUSCHA PUBLISHED SIXTEEN BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECTS THAT EXEMPLIFY THE WEST COAST CONCEPTUAL ART MOVEMENT. THESE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHIC PUBLICATIONS, PRINTED MATTER IN MULTIPLE EDITIONS, BY RUSCHA AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES, SUBVERTED THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITIONS OF ART AS A CREATIVE SKILL AND MEANS OF SELF-EXPRESSION.

Ed Ruscha: Books & Co Gagosian Gallery July 2016

Ed Ruscha: Books & Co
Gagosian Gallery
July 2016

RUSCHA HAS BEEN CREDITED WITH REINVENTING THE CONCEPT OF THE ARTIST’S BOOK BY REJECTING THE CRITERIA OF CRAFTSMANSHIP AND THE EXCLUSIVITY OF THE TRADITIONAL livre d’artiste IN FAVOR OF AN UNSIGNED AND INEXPENSIVELY PRINTED EDITION, OPENING THIS GENRE TO THE POTENTIAL OF MASS PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION.

DOUG FLAMM, AN EXPERT IN THE FIELD OF BOOK PUBLISHING AND A PASSIONATE LOVER OF ARTISTS’ BOOKS, RECENTLY JOINED THE GAGOSIAN GALLERY TO EXPAND THE DEPTH AND SCOPE AT THE GAGOSIAN BOOKSHOP OF AN ALREADY EXCEPTIONAL INVENTORY. LOCATED AT 976 MADISON AVENUE ACROSS FROM THE CARLYLE HOTEL AT 76th STREET, IT OFFERS AN EXTENSIVE SELECTION OF SCHOLARLY MONOGRAPHS, UNIQUE CATALOGUES AND ARTISTS’ BOOKS.

 

From Twenty-six Gas Stations

From Twenty-six Gas Stations

FOR MOST ARTISTS, A BOOK SUPPLEMENTS THE ACTUAL WORKS OF ART, OFTEN ACCOMPANYING AN EXHIBITION OF PAINTING, SCULPTURE OR INSTALLATION. FOR ED RUSCHA, BOUND AND PRINTED PAGES HAVE BEEN AN INTEGRAL PART OF HIS PRACTICE FOR OVER 50 YEARS.

AS RUSCHA COMMENTED IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE TELEGRAPH’S MARTIN GAYFORD IN 2009, “I BEGAN TO SEE BOOKS AND BOOK DESIGN, TYPOGRAPHY, AS A REAL INSPIRATION. SO I GOT A JOB WITH A BOOK PRINTER. HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO SET TYPE, AND THEN I STARTED TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF TYPOGRAPHY AND LETTER-FORMS. SOMEHOW THAT LED ME OFF ON THIS LITTLE PATH, ALMOST LIKE A BUMPER CAR, YOU KNOW.”

Ed Ruscha Twentysix Gasoline Stations 1963

Ed Ruscha
Twentysix Gasoline Stations
1963

A PARTICULAR FAVORITE OF DOUG’S, FOR YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING OR FOR YOUR ART LIBRARY ANY TIME OF YEAR, IS:

Ed Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963)

One of the most important artist books from the second half of the twentieth century, this copy of Ed Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations includes the original wrappers, with its title printed in red ink on the front and spine. It’s the first edition of Ruscha’s first artist book, which is one of approximately 50 copies, and includes the original black card slipcase. It was published by the artist in 1963, under the imprint National Excelsior Publications.

IN OUR NEXT POST, DOUG WILL RECOMMEND SOME ADDITIONAL TREASURES THAT SHOULD PLEASE EVEN THE TOUGHEST RECIPIENT!

STAY TUNED!