Ruscha, Edward. Every Building on the Sunset Strip. Los Angeles: Edward Ruscha. 1966.
I have no interest in photography as a medium.
An odd statement for the creator of a book that relies exclusively on what Johanna Drucker calls a “non-narrative visual sequence.” The book depicts only what the title proclaims, viz., every building on the Sunset Strip, and uses words only to identify the intersecting streets and numbers only to identify the address of each building. It is a completely self-referential object placed into the context of a mass-produced commodity.
In another sense, however, Ruscha’s comment is understandable. The photographs evince no aesthetic or artistic hand, and simply record in a somewhat monotonous low-contrast representational way the cityscape of the Sunset Strip in the mid sixties. The book is offset printed on standard paper. In the truest sense the artistic medium here is the book itself and not the photographs.
Looked at as an art object, it is an excellent example of what minimalism should achieve: the device of the unbound concertina fold, about twenty-seven feet long when unfolded, accommodates perfectly the physical requirements of displaying joined panoramic photographs of a street that is itself several miles long. The visual sequence of the street provides a structure for the visual sequence of the book with no further need for elaboration.
A copy of this book was included in the recent exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago entitled Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph 1964 – 1977.
This copy is a first edition, first issue, limited to 1000 copies (although no limitation is stated in the book) in a silver foil slipcase complete with its original very scarce paper wraparound band.
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