Various Small Fires and Milk. Photographs by Ed Ruscha. Self-published, 1964/1970. 48 pp. Duodecimo (7 x 5 1/2 in.). Second edition. (Originally published 1964 in an edition of 400, 50 of which were signed; this edition 1970, 3000 copies.) Stiff printed wrappers. Original glassine jacket. 16 black-and-white reproductions.
"[Following the publication of >Twentysix Gasoline Stations], Ruscha changed tactics with his next publication. Rather than offer an inventory of a single object, Various Small Fires and Milk catalogued different manifestations of the word "fire," including the glow of a cigarette, the flick of a lighter, and a lit burner on a gas stove. Although similar in format to Twentysix Gasoline Stations, Ruscha created a narrative by introducing a new subject on the book's last page and by giving all the images, except the last, a yellowish green varnish. The subject of the final photograph, a glass of milk, reads as an antacid to the previous fires. It is also wholesome, unlike the cigar and cigarette smoking characters shown earlier in the book.
In a conversation with John Coplans about Various Small Fires and Milk, Ruscha remarked, "My pictures are not that interesting, nor the subject matter. They are simply a collection of 'facts;' my book is more like a collection of 'readymades.'"--Sylvia Wolf, Ed Ruscha and Photography, p. 122.
Fine in Fine- glassine; tiny area of soiling on page edges; typically age darkened glassine with tiny chip at crown of spine.