Edward Ruscha (1937-)
Twentysix Gasoline Stations Slant
Graphite pencil, colored pencil, and pen and ink on paper
Sheet: 14 × 11 1/16 in. (35.6 × 28.1 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
Twentysix Gasoline Stations Slant is a work about another work by the same artist: the drawing depicts Ed Ruscha’s first artist’s book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations, which had been published in a limited edition earlier that year. The drawing’s spare, straightforward quality, recalling Ruscha’s training in graphic design and typesetting, captures the same qualities of the book, whose title, printed in one of the artist’s signature basic fonts, describes exactly what the photographs in the book depict. The drawing testifies to Ruscha’s fluidity between mediums: he often explores the same image, word, or theme in paintings, drawings, and photographs. Twentysix Gasoline Stations has a seminal place in the history of artist’s books; it is lauded for its mechanical look, the neutral, “deskilled” quality of its photographs, and the possibilities it raised for new modes of circulating and distributing the art object. Ruscha’s decision to create an illusionistic, three-dimensional drawing of Twentysix Gasoline Stations suggests that the book’s material properties—as a palpable, physical object to be held in the hands, flipped through, looked at, and read—were as important to the artist as its conceptual ambitions.