Daily Tips: Ed Ruscha at Gagosian in Paris

“Prints and Photographs” and “Books & Co.” are two exhibitions organized by Gagosian Paris that survey the world of Ed Ruscha: his prints of the past forty years, together with rarely seen photographs produced since 1959, as well as his legendary artist’s books, together with those of more than 70 contemporary artists from all over the world, providing an in-depth examination of the unrestricted gestures that fuel his assiduous art. Ranging freely and dexterously across traditional, unconventional, or sometimes even comestible materials, Ruscha’s prints are a fluid forum for the spirited investigation of what a limited-edition artwork can be. His absorption and re-thinking of the requirements of each graphic procedure and format result in step-by-step transformations, a process that echoes the eternal return of the subjects that make up his broader oeuvre. His artist’s books, on the other hand, were inspired by the unassuming books that he found in street stalls during a trip to Europe. In 1962 Ruscha published his first artist book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations under his own imprint, National Excelsior Press. A slim, cheaply produced volume, then priced at $3.50, Twentysix Gasoline Stations is exactly what its title suggests: twenty-six photographs of gas stations with captions indicating their brand and location, just like works of art. Ruscha followed this up with a succession of similarly self-evident and deadpan books, including Some Los Angeles Apartments (1965), Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass (1968), and Real Estate Opportunities (1970), all of which combined the literalness of early California pop art with a photographic aesthetic informed by minimalist sequence and seriality, shot through with a wry sense of humor.

The Blogazine