Los Angeles, Margo Leavin Gallery, John Baldessari, September - October 1986
John Baldessari's aesthetics and artistic techniques have continually challenged the definition of art. Early in his career, Baldessari brilliantly professed that the spectator is equally as important as the phenomenon being represented. It was Baldessari's unwavering commitment to the juxtaposition of images, often employing photographs, which set him apart from his contemporaries such as Josef Kosuth, Bel Bochner, and Sol LeWitt. His image pairing and placement reduces art down to its most primitive elements, presenting several interpretations and thereby subjecting the viewer to a multitude of viewpoints. Through images alone, John Baldessari succeeds in thematizing vision.
Behind Baldessari's reductivist veneer however, is a glimmer of humanity – regardless of how minimal his composition, he always demonstrates an uncanny brilliance for documenting the human condition. During the 1980's he moved away from incorporating text into his works. Instead, he relied entirely on the juxtaposition of images to relate a story, idea, or thought. In this work, at the beginning and end of each row, there is a headshot of a person staring. This "framing" technique is echoed by two floor lamps, each one of which is highlighted in a different primary color (blue or yellow). All the rows, with the exception of the top two, are deliberately framed between the lamps. The overall effect of the work is a narrative on the relationship between illumination, literal and figurative, and vision. The images show people looking, while we the viewers are, in turn, staring at them. By using the process of montage and the juxtaposition of animate and inanimate objects, Baldessari demonstrates that "meaning is constructed relationally rather than emanating from within." (Exh. Cat., Berlin, Deutsche Guggenheim, John Baldessari: Somewhere Between Almost Right and Not Quite (With Orange), 2004, p. 25).
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale