Twentysix Gasoline Stations
Alhambra, California: Cunningham Press, 1969. 3rd Edition. Octavo, publisher's white stiff paper wraps, upper wrap and spine printed in red, original glassine dust jacket.
Third edition of LA-based multimedia artist Ruscha's first book, the now iconic “artless art” artist’s book Twentysix Gasoline Stations. This self-evident and deadpan book contains exactly 26 black-and-white photos taken from the highway of gas stations along Route 66 between Ruscha’s home in Los Angeles and his parent’s house in Oklahoma City. In a 1965 Artforum interview, Ruscha said that he was “not trying to create a precious limited edition book, but a mass-produced product of high order. All my books are identical. They have none of the nuances of the hand-made and crafted limited edition book.” The book was relatively cheap (earlier editions were sold for $3, though this copy has an original $6 price sticker) and it’s been suggested that the reprint editions were made to deliberately flood the market to maintain the book’s mass-produced commodity status. Though it was initially rejected by the Library of Congress for its 'unorthodox form and supposed lack of information,’ Twentysix Gasoline Stations gradually achieved cult status throughout the 1960s and is now considered one of the first contemporary artist’s books and served as a major influence on America’s emerging artist’s book scene. Originally published in 1963 in a numbered edition of 400, in a second unnumbered edition of 500 in 1967, and then in this third unnumbered edition of 3000 in 1969. Lightest wear along bottom edge, yellowing to binder’s glue, small stain to rear wrap; Original glassine dust jacket with some yellowing, shallow chips to spine ends, creases to flap folds, original price sticker to upper panel. Near fine. Item #6646