John Baldessari
October 27–December 9, 2017
Los Angeles

Sprüth Magers has exhibited John Baldessari for almost three decades, and is pleased to present his second solo show at the Los Angeles gallery. The exhibition features twenty-seven works from Baldessari’s new series of large-scale paintings based on the ubiquitous Emojis.

John Baldessari’s name is synonymous with the art scene in his native West coast. His career as a highly influential artist and venerated teacher has spanned over fifty years and includes a diverse oeuvre of painting, photography, sculpture and video. From his earliest text paintings in the late 1960s to his more recent ‘storyboard paintings’, Baldessari has always reveled in the playful dislocation between text and image, expanded here in this most recent body of work. Created earlier this year, the Emoji paintings focus on the increasingly complex ways in which we exchange and interpret information in everyday life. Emojis’ are a pictograph-specific keyboard that features glyphs in categories such as ‘smileys and people’, ‘animals and nature’, ‘food and drink’, ‘objects’, and ‘flags’. They are increasingly used as a form of electronic communication, but their equivocal nature means that issues of context and cultural specificity often complicate their interpretation by recipients – it is this theme that the artist explores in his paintings. 

 

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Inkjet prints of animal Emojis such as a tiger or pig dominate large canvases that are painted over in acrylic. Below each picture plane, typed snippets of dialogue from movies appear to caption the icons, although it is difficult to find any connection between them. In one work, a gecko appears above what seems to be an extract from a theatrical text. The scene description is ‘OFFICE BUILDING – DAY’ in which a character named ‘MAYO’ asks ‘Is there a Courbet for sale here?’ This disjunctive composition activates a wry and thought-provoking combination of visual and written language that allows alternative narratives and interpretations to flourish in the viewers’ imagination. By focusing on the plurality of potential meanings that underpin contemporary forms of communication, Baldessari’s new series of paintings interrogate both the ambiguity, and cultural-specificity, of the Emoji with pictures that are as un-singular and indefinable in meaning as the icons themselves.

 

Installation Views
John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

Details
John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, October 27–December 9, 2017
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

Details
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1 of 5
Exhibited Works
John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
NUMAN'S MORTUARY MEYER Your big ideas bug me., 2017

John Baldessari
NUMAN'S MORTUARY MEYER Your big ideas bug me., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. THE WOOD SHOP - DAY TODD First of all..., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. THE WOOD SHOP – DAY TODD First of all…, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
OFFICE BUILDING - DAY MAYO Is there a Courbet for sale here?, 2017

John Baldessari
OFFICE BUILDING – DAY MAYO Is there a Courbet for sale here?, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
EXT. CREMATORIUM - LATER EVELYN (Brushes horse hairs from her jeans) I was riding rather early., 2017

John Baldessari
EXT. CREMATORIUM – LATER EVELYN (Brushes horse hairs from her jeans) I was riding rather early., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
LARGE RECTANGULAR BUILDING KEN I have to know (with anxiety)., 2017

John Baldessari
LARGE RECTANGULAR BUILDING KEN I have to know (with anxiety)., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
EXT. BASEBALL DIAMOND ON CARILLO - DAY WAYNE It’s calumny, 2017

John Baldessari
EXT. BASEBALL DIAMOND ON CARILLO – DAY WAYNE It’s calumny, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
PRESIDENT’S OFFICE GREG I look pathetic now but I dream., 2017

John Baldessari
PRESIDENT’S OFFICE GREG I look pathetic now but I dream., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. ELLEN’S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS ROBERT I exist in dystopia., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. ELLEN’S APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS ROBERT I exist in dystopia., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
IN AN ABANDONED DINER - NIGHT WES Martyrs are often canonized., 2017

John Baldessari
IN AN ABANDONED DINER – NIGHT WES Martyrs are often canonized., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
EXT. CITY STREET - EARLY MORNING CHARLES Shenanigans., 2017

John Baldessari
EXT. CITY STREET – EARLY MORNING CHARLES Shenanigans., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. PRODUCTION STUDIO - DAY BRIMANDA (Indistinguishable) I can’t., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. PRODUCTION STUDIO – DAY BRIMANDA (Indistinguishable) I can’t., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. NEWARK STREET JAIL - DAY ALICE I love you. SAM I love you too., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. NEWARK STREET JAIL – DAY ALICE I love you. SAM I love you too., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
168.9 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
66 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. BUSCH’S JEWELRY STORE - DAY MICHAEL Lugubrious movies of lost love., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. BUSCH’S JEWELRY STORE – DAY MICHAEL Lugubrious movies of lost love., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. FEDCO DISCOUNT STORE - DAY VERA I’ve lost interest., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. FEDCO DISCOUNT STORE – DAY VERA I’ve lost interest., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
EXT. SANTA BARBARA - STATE STREET - NIGHT CHRIS But art is exponential., 2017

John Baldessari
EXT. SANTA BARBARA – STATE STREET – NIGHT CHRIS But art is exponential., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. CAMERA STORE - NEWARK - DAY NATE It’s a cosmic aberration., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. CAMERA STORE – NEWARK – DAY NATE It’s a cosmic aberration., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. FRANK’S PENTHOUSE - EVENING BOBBY Reverse close-up., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. FRANK’S PENTHOUSE – EVENING BOBBY Reverse close-up., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. PHEOBE’S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS SEAN I’m not looking for a backrub., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. PHEOBE’S APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS SEAN I’m not looking for a backrub., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
COURTYARD BEN I’m afraid there’s been a serious error., 2017

John Baldessari
COURTYARD BEN I’m afraid there’s been a serious error., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
ICE CREAM PARLOR MICHAEL (Into phone) There’s nobody here., 2017

John Baldessari
ICE CREAM PARLOR MICHAEL (Into phone) There’s nobody here., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
EXT. NEW YORK EAST SIDE HEALTH CLINIC - DAY WALT It’s a four oater., 2017

John Baldessari
EXT. NEW YORK EAST SIDE HEALTH CLINIC – DAY WALT It’s a four oater., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
EXT. MILPAS PARK BASKETBALL COURT - DAY FRANK (Waits for a take-out order) Can I get some napkins?, 2017

John Baldessari
EXT. MILPAS PARK BASKETBALL COURT – DAY FRANK (Waits for a take-out order) Can I get some napkins?, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. HALL MARK What can I say kid. When you’re right, you’re right., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. HALL MARK What can I say kid. When you’re right, you’re right., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
MEDITERRANEAN BUILDING ELMWOOD After you., 2017

John Baldessari
MEDITERRANEAN BUILDING ELMWOOD After you., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
KAY’S HOTEL ROOM STU It sounds great. What’s the title and the next line?, 2017

John Baldessari
KAY’S HOTEL ROOM STU It sounds great. What’s the title and the next line?, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
INT. RICHIE'S APARTMENT - SAME TIME DONALD I’m at a computer store buying a mouse., 2017

John Baldessari
INT. RICHIE'S APARTMENT – SAME TIME DONALD I’m at a computer store buying a mouse., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles
John Baldessari
THE DON’S OFFICE - NIGHT PAUL Naw, it’s alright...thanks…, 2017

John Baldessari
THE DON’S OFFICE – NIGHT PAUL Naw, it’s alright…thanks…, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

Details
John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
NUMAN'S MORTUARY MEYER Your big ideas bug me., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. THE WOOD SHOP – DAY TODD First of all…, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
OFFICE BUILDING – DAY MAYO Is there a Courbet for sale here?, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
EXT. CREMATORIUM – LATER EVELYN (Brushes horse hairs from her jeans) I was riding rather early., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
LARGE RECTANGULAR BUILDING KEN I have to know (with anxiety)., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
EXT. BASEBALL DIAMOND ON CARILLO – DAY WAYNE It’s calumny, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
PRESIDENT’S OFFICE GREG I look pathetic now but I dream., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. ELLEN’S APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS ROBERT I exist in dystopia., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
IN AN ABANDONED DINER – NIGHT WES Martyrs are often canonized., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
EXT. CITY STREET – EARLY MORNING CHARLES Shenanigans., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. PRODUCTION STUDIO – DAY BRIMANDA (Indistinguishable) I can’t., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. NEWARK STREET JAIL – DAY ALICE I love you. SAM I love you too., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
168.9 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
66 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. BUSCH’S JEWELRY STORE – DAY MICHAEL Lugubrious movies of lost love., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. FEDCO DISCOUNT STORE – DAY VERA I’ve lost interest., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
EXT. SANTA BARBARA – STATE STREET – NIGHT CHRIS But art is exponential., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. CAMERA STORE – NEWARK – DAY NATE It’s a cosmic aberration., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. FRANK’S PENTHOUSE – EVENING BOBBY Reverse close-up., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. PHEOBE’S APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS SEAN I’m not looking for a backrub., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
COURTYARD BEN I’m afraid there’s been a serious error., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
ICE CREAM PARLOR MICHAEL (Into phone) There’s nobody here., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
EXT. NEW YORK EAST SIDE HEALTH CLINIC – DAY WALT It’s a four oater., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
EXT. MILPAS PARK BASKETBALL COURT – DAY FRANK (Waits for a take-out order) Can I get some napkins?, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. HALL MARK What can I say kid. When you’re right, you’re right., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
MEDITERRANEAN BUILDING ELMWOOD After you., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
KAY’S HOTEL ROOM STU It sounds great. What’s the title and the next line?, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
INT. RICHIE'S APARTMENT – SAME TIME DONALD I’m at a computer store buying a mouse., 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
163.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
64 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari – John Baldessari – Los Angeles

John Baldessari
THE DON’S OFFICE – NIGHT PAUL Naw, it’s alright…thanks…, 2017
Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
158.8 × 137.2 × 3.8 cm
62 1/2 × 54 × 1 1/2 inches

Details
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Selected Press

„They just had to be cheesy“
The Guardian, review by Matt Stromberg, November 28, 2017

Los Angeles – John Baldessari at Sprüth Magers through December 9, 2017
Art Observed, review by A. Corrigan, November 28, 2017

John Baldessari at Jumex Museum and Sprüth Magers
KCRW, review by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, November 16, 2017