[From first page]: Books by Edward Ruscha. Edward RUSCHA.

“Prices Can Change Without Notice”

[From first page]: Books by Edward Ruscha.

Black & white illus. of Ruscha’s first eight books. Large poster intentionally separated horizontally in two & stapled twice to form an accordion booklet of 10 pp. (200 x 108 mm. fully folded). Hollywood, California: Heavy Industry Publications: [ca. 1968].

First state of this extremely rare trade catalogue advertising Ruscha’s first eight artists’ books. This is one of the earliest ephemeral publications promoting these fabled books. They are presented in typical Ruscha fashion: slightly askew and matter-of-factly. We date the present catalogue to 1968 or thereabouts based on the final item listed for sale, Nine Swimming Pools (retailed at $3.50, 1968). The second edition of the artist’s first book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations ($4.00, 1962), remains at a relatively low price, while the signed and “rare” first edition of Various Small Fires (1964) is offered at $25.00. “Prices can change without notice” is printed on the final page.

We have encountered copies of this trade catalogue being re-purposed in the early 70s, with some of the prices sharply increased, indicated in Magic Marker, and the titles and prices of Ruscha’s next five books stamped or written in on the final page. In her insightful article on the presence of artists’ books at documenta, Anna Sigrídur Arnar shows one of these later marked-up posters, displayed in the “Idee” section, held on the second floor of the Fridericianum Museum, during documenta 5 (1972).

In fine condition; a compelling document relating to the marketing of artists’ books in the 60s and 70s and the ardent collecting of Ruscha’s books. We know of only one example in American institutional collections.

❧ A. S. Arnar, “Books at documenta: Medium, Art Object, Cultural Symbol” in On Curating, no. 33: The documenta Issue (June 2017), accessed 24 July 2020.

Price: $2,950.00

Item ID: 7398