DOUGLAS CRIMP

 
Browsing through the stacks of the New York Public Library where books on the general subject of transportation were shelved, I came across the book by Ed Ruscha entitled ‘Twentysix Gasoline Stations,’ a work first published in 1963 and consisting of just that: 26 gasoline stations. I remember thinking how funny it was that the book had been miscatalogued and placed alongside books about automobiles, highways, and so forth. I knew, as the librarians evidently did not, that Ruscha’s book was a work of art and therefore belonged in the art division. But now, because of the considerations of postmodernism, I’ve changed my mind; I now know that Ed Ruscha’s books make no sense in relation to the categories of art according to which art books are catalogued in the library, and that that is part of their achievement. The fact that there is nowhere in the present system of classification a place for ‘Twentysix Gasoline Stations’ is an index of its radicalism with respect to established modes of thought. - Douglas Crimp