No Image
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Edward Ruscha, American (Omaha, NE born 1937)
Babycakes with Weights
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Babycakes
Work Type
artist's book
Physical Descriptions
cover: 19 x 15.2 cm (7 1/2 x 6 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: signed
  • inscription: 1st page, blue ballpoint ink, handwritten, signed, in artist's hand: David / Ed
[Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, California], sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, September 20, 1999.
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Standard Reference Number
E. B11
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
© Edward J. Ruscha IV/Gagosian Gallery
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.

Label Text: 32Q: 1100 60’s Experiment , written 2015
In Los Angeles in the early 1960s, Ruscha began to publish his own small books in modest editions, priced at only a few dollars each. The slim softcover volumes are illustrated with mechanical reproductions of black-and-white and color photographs of familiar places (such as pools and apartment buildings) and things (such as palm trees and records). While they suggest the vernacular documentary photography of Walker Evans, Ruscha’s images are purposefully banal. Eschewing the language of fine art, Ruscha referred to his deadpan photographs as “technical data” and “readymades.”
To produce the books, Ruscha employed skills he learned while training as a commercial artist. While his publications were mechanically produced, they also required significant manual labor. Ruscha designed the books, had them printed by local print shops, then edited and assembled them in his studio. By disseminating his publications in stores and by mail order, he attempted to integrate his work into the world of ephemeral printed matter. Although the books now occupy glass cases in museums, when they first appeared they were a departure from the luxury artist’s edition and from the standards of fine art photography. Ruscha’s work reverberated significantly in the years to come, especially in conceptual art practices of the late 1960s and ’70s.

Exhibition History

Landmark Pictures: Ed Ruscha/Andreas Gursky, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 01/08/2000 - 03/19/2000

32Q: 1100 60’s Experiment, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 04/23/2015 - 10/07/2015

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at