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"Various Small Books" by Ed Ruscha
"Various Small Books" by Ed Ruscha Handout

Some 50 years ago the enigmatic artist Ed Ruscha started what might be considered a joke. On a road trip in 1956, he took snapshots of filling stations along Route 66 and created his first book, “Twentysix Gasoline Stations,” the first in a series of photo books that influenced ideas about art. Scores of artists in various countries took their cue from him, producing, among many others, “Nineteen Potted Palms” and “Various Studios & Homes Inhabited by Ed Ruscha.” Close to 100 of these books are represented in “Various Small Books: Referencing Various Small Books by Ed Ruscha” (MIT), edited and compiled by Jeff Brouws, Wendy Burton, and Hermann Zschiegner.   JAN GARDNER