Saturday, March 19, 2016

John Baldessari at Sprüth Magers Los Angeles

John Baldessari - Maybe the Simplest Way..., 2015

Over the past 50 years, no one has come to epitomise the visual arts in Los Angeles more than John Baldessari. With his vibrant wit and his vast and un-classifiable oeuvre, which includes painting, photography, sculpture and video, he has become a hugely influential artist, while his generosity and brilliance as a teacher has made him a beloved figure among generations of students. 
John Baldessari has always reveled in the playful dislocation between text and image. His most recent body of work, a series of paintings made over the past year, further expands this distinct Baldessari mode. Featuring banal found photographs, altered with his trademark blocks of rich colour, accompanied by equally banal snippets of text that appear like captions beneath the images, the new paintings present the viewer with a pleasing conundrum. The arresting disjunction between text and image opens up an enormous gulf for the viewer’s imagination. The resulting combination of word and image generates a radically anarchic pictorial space. Baldessari's formal daring and ingenious wit, that has made Baldessari such a vital figure in contemporary art. 
John Baldessari John Baldessari (1931, National City, California) lives and works in Santa Monica, California. His works were part of the 47th (1997) and 53rd (2009) Venice Biennials, the Carnegie International (1985-86), the Whitney Biennial (1983), as well as documenta V (1972) and VII (1982). In 2005, an extensive, two-part retrospective was dedicated to the artist at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien and at the Kunsthaus Graz. His large retrospective Pure Beauty opened 2009 at the Tate Modern in London, and subsequently was on view at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2010), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2010), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2010/2011). Recently the artist has presented his works in solo exhibitions at the Fondazione Prada, Milan (2010) the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011) and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt (2015/16). In June 2009, John Baldessari was awarded the Golden Lion at the 53rd Venice Biennial and 2012 the Kaiserring of the city of Goslar for his lifetime achievement. In 2015, he was awarded The National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts. 
The exhibition at Sprüth Magers Los Angeles opens February 24 and runs until April 9.
John Baldessari - It's Possible, Although..., 2015

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