Real Estate Opportunities. Photographs by Ed Ruscha. Privately published, 1970. 48 pp. Duodecimo (7 x 5 1/2 in.). First and only edition (4000 copies). Stiff printed wrappers. Original glassine jacket. 25 Black-and-white reproductions.
"In the 1960s, Ed Ruscha more or less reinvented the artist’s book. By turning away from the craftsmanship and luxury status that typified the livre d’artiste in favor of the artistic idea or concept, expressed simply through photographs and text, Ruscha opened the genre to the possibilities of mass-production and distribution. In Real Estate Opportunities, Ruscha presents, without comment, pictures of various tracts of land for sale in different parts of L.A. County"--The Getty Museum
"All of [Ruscha's] work is premeditated, especially the cult photo-books, which, in good Warholian fashion, are as advertised: Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963), Some Los Angeles Apartments (1965), Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), Thirtyfour Parking Lots in Los Angeles (1967), Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass (1968), Real Estate Opportunities (1970) and so on. 'I don’t even look at it as photography,' Ruscha has said, 'they're just images to fill a book,' the parameters of which are set beforehand. Several books survey typical spaces of LA, and the presentation is as 'neuter gender' as possible: 'They’re a collection of 'facts' . . . a collection of readymade.' Like many Duchampian artists from Jasper Johns (an early influence) to Gerhard Richter, Ruscha has dampened his art in a way that nonetheless allows it to be distinctive: a deadpan-ness--funny, desolate, sometimes both--is conveyed in his homely shots of solitary gas stations or aerial images of empty parking lots; and the apparently arbitrary numbers (why nine pools?) only add to the blank absurdity...
"Though he is a believer to the end, Ruscha suggests that Los Angeles might be a mirage and California a myth--a façade about to crumble into the desert, a set about to liquefy into the sea."--Hal Foster, At the Whitney, London Review of Books, 2 September 2004.
Fine, in Very Good+ glassine; wear and a few tiny chips upper edge; 1" chip to rear; 1" tear with adjacent crease lower corner.