Herbert Foundation

Edward Ruscha

	<p><em>Babycakes with Weights</em>, 1970</p>
	<p><em>Various Small Fires and Milk</em>, 1964</p>

Los Angeles – “After a book leaves here, it’s for whatever anyone wants to use it for. I’d love to have the facts on where my books are…. I had a daydream once not long ago about an imaginary person known as the Information Man, and I wrote it down. Let me read it to you.

“‘The Information Man is someone who comes up to you and begins telling you stories and related facts about a particular subject in your life. He came up to me and said, ‘Of all the books of yours that are out in the public, only 171 are placed face up with nothing covering them; 2026 are in vertical positions in libraries, and 2715 are under books in stacks. The most weight on a single book is sixty-eight pounds, and that is in the city of Cologne, Germany, in a bookstore. Fifty-eight have been lost; fourteen have been totally destroyed by water or fire; two-hundred sixteen books could be considered badly worn. Three hundred and nineteen books are in positions between forty and fifty degrees. Eighteen of the books have been deliberately thrown away or destroyed. Fifty-three books have never been opened, most of these being newly purchased and put aside momentarily.’

‘Of the approximately 5000 books of Ed Ruscha that have been purchased, only thirty-two have been used in a directly functional manner. Thirteen of these have been used as weights for paper or other small things, seven have been used as swatters to kill small insects such as flies and mosquitoes, two were used as a device to nudge open a door, six have been used to transport foods like peanuts to a coffee table, and four have been used to nudge wall pictures to their correct levels. Two hundred and twenty-one people have smelled pages of the books. Three of the books have been in continual motion since their purchase; all three of these are on a boat near Seattle, Washington.’

‘ Now wouldn’t it be nice to know these things? ’ ”

Ed Ruscha in an essay by A.D. Coleman, published in the New York Times, v. 121, n. 41, 854, August 27, 1972, p. D12.

Edward Ruscha