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Ed Ruscha «Twentysix Gasoline Stations»
Ed Ruscha, «Twentysix Gasoline Stations», 1967
1963 | Photography | © Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha «Twentysix Gasoline Stations»Ed Ruscha «Twentysix Gasoline Stations»

Categories: Photography

Keywords: Concept

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print; photo series

 Ed Ruscha
«Twentysix Gasoline Stations»

The book contains photographs of 26 gas stations, with one-line references stating the stations’ name and location. The page layout varies: a photograph sometimes fills a two-page spread, sometimes a single page, sometimes a half page. Ruscha took these photographs of gas stations on the legendary Route 66 highway which connects Oklahoma to Los Angeles. Here, however, one senses none of the ‹On the road feeling› of the ‹motorized flaneur,› as in Robert Frank’s famous book of photography «The Americans» (1965). The images are registered with an indifferent, almost bored gaze, and the view of the road has an economic aspect. From the standpoint of traditional photographic aesthetics, the individual photographs seem unsuccessful and more like works of ‹bad photography›: too much empty space in the foreground, poorly chosen perspectives, and faulty contrasts, etc.. Through this deliberate lack of style, which is how Jeff Walls interprets it, Ruscha draws attention «to the estranged relationship of people to their rural environment, but without staging or dramatizing the estrangement».

Black offset printing on white paper. 17,9 x 14 x 0,5 cm (closed). 48 pages, 26 photographs. First edition: 400 numbered copies; second edition, 1967: 500 copies, third edition, 1969: 3000 copies. The title appears in red lettering on the cover and spine. [From: Ed Ruscha, exhibition catalog, eds. Neal Benezra and Kerry Brougher, Zürich, a.o. 2002]