LOS ANGELES — Ed Ruscha is as humbled as he is bemused over the first of five volumes out this week chronicling a lifetime of achievement. “Part of me wants to say, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ But here I am in 2004, I’m still working,” he deadpans. “They haven’t hammered the lid yet.”

Far from it. Nearly a decade in the making and co-published by Steidl Verlag and Gagosian Gallery, which represents him worldwide and is hosting his New York personal appearance for the book today at its Madison Avenue site, the 464-page compendium, “Ed Ruscha Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings Volume One: 1958-1970,” just begins to tell the story of the prolific painter, printmaker, photographer and filmmaker.

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