Various Small Books: Referencing Various Small Books by Ed Ruscha
In the 1960s and 1970s, the artist Ed Ruscha created a series of small photo-conceptual artists books, among them Twentysix Gas Stations, Various Small Fires, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, Thirtyfour Parking Lots, Real Estate Opportunities, and A Few Palm Trees. Featuring mundane subjects photographed prosaically, with idiosyncratically deadpan titles, these small books were sought after, collected, and loved by Ruschas fans and fellow artists. Over the past thirty years, close to 100 other small books that appropriated or paid homage to Ruschas have appeared throughout the world. This book collects ninety-one of these projects, showcasing the cover and sample layouts from each along with a description of the work. It also includes selections from Ruschas books and an appendix listing all known Ruscha book tributes.
These small books revisit, imitate, honor, and parody Ruscha in form, content, and title. Some rephotograph his subjects: Thirtyfour Parking Lots, Forty Years Later. Some offer a humorous variation: Various Unbaked Cookies (which concludes, as did Ruschas Various Small Fires, with a glass of milk), Twentynine Palms (twenty-nine photographs of palm-readers signs). Some say something different: None of the Buildings on Sunset Strip. Some reach for a connection with Ruscha himself: 17 Parked Cars in Various Parking Lots Along Pacific Coast Highway Between My House and Ed Ruschas.
With his books, Ruscha expanded the artists field of permissible subjects, approaches, and methods. With VARIOUS SMALL BOOKS, various artists pay tribute to Ed Ruscha and extend the legacy of his books.