Friday, 4 March 2011

Bite 73: Edward Ruscha - Every Building on the Sunset Strip, 1966

Every Building on the Sunset Strip, 1966, artist's book (above: concertina, below: detail)
"The images, taken during the day, capture only the facades of the buildings. Ignorance is given to cars or people, both of which are often cut in half between separate exposures. The imperfections of matching the facades are cracks along Ruscha’s drive. Through these cracks we find Ruscha, not such an anonymous author after all. Splitting cars in two, and mismatching facades we become keenly aware of the passage of time. The facades of buildings may appear as stage sets but they are active points on other itineraries, anticipating future and past narratives."
                                                                        - Chris Balaschak

In a literal survey of the Sunset Strip, LA Ruscha mounted a camera to the back of a pick-up truck, photographed every building on the street, on both sides, and pasted the resulting photographs together, one side above, the other below, with building numbers indicated beneath each image.

An exercise in arbitrariness, this small but ground-breaking accordion artist's book presents what would normally be a topographical study - photographs of an entire street - as an artwork. An archiving of a street lived by the artist, this early 'Street View' is a dead pan, thorough exploration, of the landscape of a repeated journey.