John Baldessari
February 24–April 9, 2016
Los Angeles

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 unclassifiable 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. Sprüth Magers has been exhibiting John Baldessari for almost 30 years, and we are delighted to open our Los Angeles gallery with one of the west coast’s greatest living artists.

From his earliest text paintings in the late 1960s to his recent ‘storyboard paintings’, John Baldessari has always revelled 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.

 

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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. Text and image are sutured together on the picture plane, yet the viewer will struggle to find any useful correspondence between them. In Ben's Jacket Drapes..., we see, from behind, a woman reclining in a chair situated on blacked-out beach, while she seems to gaze out at a tropical seascape in the background. The text reads 'BEN’S JACKET DRAPES PERFECTLY OVER HIS SHOULDERS'. The arresting disjunction between text and image opens up an enormous gulf for the viewer’s imagination. The picture breaks off from one space into another, with the text offering its own distinct image, creating a double register not unlike counterpoint in a musical composition. The words are unlikely to reflect the thoughts of the woman lounging on the beach, or mean much else for that matter, and yet they are unavoidable, occupying the base of the picture as if they must signify something. The resulting combination of word and image generates a radically anarchic pictorial space.

Baldessari often takes on ideas about authorship and creativity as his subject matter. Who is the author of these deadpan texts and should the viewer succumb to the temptation to relate them directly to the image? In another work, Hey Glen You Want To…, we read 'HEY GLEN YOU WANT TO COME OVER HERE FOR A MINUTE?' The image is a light brown silhouette of an overnight bag on a sky-blue background, and we might be half tempted here to think of the text as a playful threat, or an invitation, the bag a prop in this mini narrative. Yet the picture never resolves, never settles into a lucid relationship, and thus invites the viewer to contribute to the meaning of the work. And it is this good-humoured generosity, fuelled by the artist’s formal daring and ingenious wit, that has made Baldessari such a vital figure in contemporary art.

 

Installation Views
John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

Details
John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, February 24–April 9, 2016

Details
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Exhibited Works
John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
That's Not Bad…, 2015

John Baldessari
That's Not Bad…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
139.4 × 146.4 × 4.1 cm
54 7/8 × 57 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
It's Important To Realize That…, 2015

John Baldessari
It's Important To Realize That…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
171.1 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
67 3/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Alec Shuts The Door…, 2015

John Baldessari
Alec Shuts The Door…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
174.9 × 137.5 × 4.1 cm
68 7/8 × 54 1/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Maybe That is The Simplest Way..., 2015

John Baldessari
Maybe That is The Simplest Way…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
137.5 × 182.6 × 4.1 cm
54 1/8 × 71 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Doris Comes In And Draws Bill Aside... , 2015

John Baldessari
Doris Comes In And Draws Bill Aside… , 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
139.4 × 167.3 × 4.1 cm
54 7/8 × 65 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Joey Rummages Around…, 2015

John Baldessari
Joey Rummages Around…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
143.5 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
56,5 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Julie Climbs In Behind…, 2015

John Baldessari
Julie Climbs In Behind…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
138.1 × 159.1 × 4.1 cm
54 3/8 × 62 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Jones Washes The Windshield…, 2015

John Baldessari
Jones Washes The Windshield…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
138.7 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
54 5/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Phil Works In The Kitchen…, 2015

John Baldessari
Phil Works In The Kitchen…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
177.5 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
69 7/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Ben's Jacket Drapes…, 2015

John Baldessari
Ben's Jacket Drapes…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
180 × 138.7 × 4.1 cm
70 7/8 × 54 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
It's Possible, Although..., 2015

John Baldessari
It's Possible, Although…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
138.1 × 176.8 × 4.1 cm
54 3/8 × 69 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
A Delivery Truck Arrives…, 2015

John Baldessari
A Delivery Truck Arrives…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
220 × 137.5 × 4.1 cm
86 5/8 × 54 1/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Yeah I know…, 2015

John Baldessari
Yeah I know…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
161 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
63 3/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Hey Glen You Want To…, 2015

John Baldessari
Hey Glen You Want To…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
152.7 × 139.4 × 4.1 cm
60 1/8 × 54 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Some Other Way…, 2015

John Baldessari
Some Other Way…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
137.5 × 227.6 × 4.1 cm
54 1/8 × 89 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Tom's Hand Grips The Steering Wheel…, 2015

John Baldessari
Tom's Hand Grips The Steering Wheel…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
144.5 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
56 7/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

Details
John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
That's Not Bad…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
139.4 × 146.4 × 4.1 cm
54 7/8 × 57 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
It's Important To Realize That…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
171.1 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
67 3/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Alec Shuts The Door…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
174.9 × 137.5 × 4.1 cm
68 7/8 × 54 1/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Maybe That is The Simplest Way…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
137.5 × 182.6 × 4.1 cm
54 1/8 × 71 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Doris Comes In And Draws Bill Aside… , 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
139.4 × 167.3 × 4.1 cm
54 7/8 × 65 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Joey Rummages Around…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
143.5 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
56,5 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Julie Climbs In Behind…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
138.1 × 159.1 × 4.1 cm
54 3/8 × 62 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Jones Washes The Windshield…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
138.7 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
54 5/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Phil Works In The Kitchen…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
177.5 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
69 7/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Ben's Jacket Drapes…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
180 × 138.7 × 4.1 cm
70 7/8 × 54 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
It's Possible, Although…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
138.1 × 176.8 × 4.1 cm
54 3/8 × 69 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
A Delivery Truck Arrives…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
220 × 137.5 × 4.1 cm
86 5/8 × 54 1/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Yeah I know…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
161 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
63 3/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Hey Glen You Want To…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
152.7 × 139.4 × 4.1 cm
60 1/8 × 54 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Some Other Way…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
137.5 × 227.6 × 4.1 cm
54 1/8 × 89 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Tom's Hand Grips The Steering Wheel…, 2015
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
144.5 × 136.8 × 4.1 cm
56 7/8 × 53 7/8 × 1 5/8 inches

Details
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