Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ed Ruscha Rejected

When Ed Ruscha first published the now-classic Twentysix Gasoline Stations in 1963, it was not well regarded. Sales were poor and the Library of Congress rejected it because of it's "unorthodox form and lack of information". Ruscha took an ad out in Artforum, offering copies of the book for $3.00. The advertisement itself now sells for a hundred times that amount, and the book (a second printing, no less) sells for a thousand times the original cover price. Ruscha proudly touts the rejection from the Library of Congress in the ad.

Some accounts have Ruscha accepting the ad space in lieu of payment for layout work that he did for the struggling magazine, though his own chronology lists him working for the publication between the years of 1965 and 1969, and the ad is in the March 1964 issue. Ruscha appears on the masthead of the magazine as Eddie Russia, a pseudonym that likely grew out of the common mispronunciation of his name.

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