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Collection > Edward Ruscha >

Union, Needles, California

1962 (print 1989)

  • Medium

    Gelatin silver print

  • Dimensions

    Frame (Black wood): 22 3/16 x 25 11/16 x 1 3/4 in. (56.36 x 65.25 x 4.45 cm)
    Image: 7 15/16 x 17 7/16 in. (20.16 x 44.29 cm)

  • Credit

    The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    Gift of Gilbert B. Friesen

  • Accession number


  • Object label

    ​The titles of Edward Ruscha’s photographs of gasoline stations specify their sites along Route 66, between Los Angeles and the artist’s hometown of Oklahoma City. Ruscha’s casual, laconic snapshot mode underscores the interchangeability of the gas stations as well as their vacant surroundings. With foregrounds filled by a stretch of highway, the images are seemingly taken offhandedly, as if from a car window. The artist’s dispassionate style, coupled with banal subject matter, bucked the two dominant strains in fine art photography of the time, highly aestheticized, technique-driven images and muckraking social documentary work. Instead, Ruscha drew on the medium’s capacity for mass reproduction. That quality suits his depiction of the repetition that characterizes an American landscape punctuated by corporate emblems and brand names.