Ed Ruscha

Prior to starting the 730 module a task was set to review the work of Ed Ruscha and create our own interpretation of one or more of his works. This could take the form of a zine, booklet or other form of presentation.

In 1971 Ruscha spent some time in the Netherlands and shot a series of images in the Stadskaanal area which was later published as ‘Dutch Details’. The images capture the average living environment during that period and in the Ruscha style were suitably mundane and shot with no particular viewpoint. Somewhat like his Sunset Boulevard book, this photobook is like a long postcard with foldouts that contain multiple individual shots. Even though it is 50 years since the publishing of the book, taking a walk around a contemporary middle class Dutch neighborhood it is apparent not a lot has changed in the intervening years.

Living in the Netherlands I thought an update and new interpretation of this work by Ruscha could be a fun thing to make. A while back I completed a photo series of an abandoned recreation park full of dilapidated and run down holiday chalets in Noord Brabant, given how prim and proper the Stadskaanal images were this seemed an interesting juxtaposition to the original and an insight into a different aspect of Dutch society 50 years later.

I decided to make a small zine that would ideally fit on a single page of A3 and could be given away or left at galleries as a freebie, bit of low-cost advertising and a small homage to the original Dutch Details work by Ruscha. There is also a Reddit forum dedicated to zines and their sharing so I might advertise in there as well if anyone is interested in a copy.

As it turned out, the single A3 design was very simple to make and has the advantage of a full size print on one side of the zine. I selected a subset of the images that captured the essence of the park while keeping to the theme as much as possible of the chalets and their immediate surroundings.

Although it’s not a particularly substantial zine, I like the format as it forces you to be critical of what images to include and which one is worthy of the full spread. I think this is a great way to generate interest in seeing more of your work and in advertising a photobook or gallery exhibition. It is not a lot of work to prepare and as long as the production quality is kept within reasonable constraints, the cost of production is quite reasonable.

Bibliography

‘Dutch Details Van Edward Ruscha’. 2021. [online]. Available at: http://kunstenaarsboeken.blogspot.com/2011/09/dutch-details-van-edward-ruscha.html [accessed 12 Jun 2021].

WRIGHT: AUCTIONS OF ART AND DESIGN. 2018. ‘26: Ed Ruscha, Collection of Sixteen Artist’s Books’. [online]. Available at: https://www.wright20.com/auctions/2018/11/the-boyd-collection-i-masterworks/26/print [accessed 12 Jun 2021].

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