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    Sale 11960

    First Open | London

    14 April 2016, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 1

    Barbara Bloom (B. 1951)

    Belief in Style

    Price Realised  


    Barbara Bloom (B. 1951)
    Belief in Style
    archival digital print
    32 x 24in. (81.2 x 61cm.)
    Executed in 1987, this work is number four from an edition of ten

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    For more than four decades, Barbara Bloom’s multi-media practice has interrogated our relationship with everyday objects, probing the
    mechanisms underpinning museology and design, and exploring the notion of taste. Loosely associated with the so-called ‘Pictures
    Generation’ artists who came to prominence during the 1970s, her work seeks to challenge the aesthetic codes that underpin visual culture. Executed in 1987, Belief in Style is a poster created by Bloom for a project which she undertook in collaboration with the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague: an institution famed for its collection of furniture. As part of the exhibition, Bloom paired together incongruous pieces, marrying Gerrit Rietveld’s 1918 Red Blue Chair with a photograph of a Shaker interior, mutated to incorporate elements of Piet Mondrian’s paintings studio and shielded by a red roller-blind. Bloom’s poster captures the same disregard for traditional notions of visual coherence: the innocuous sans-serif font of her motto is paired with a grouping of Modernist chairs beneath, and a church ruin filled with rows of folding chairs above. As Susan Tallman has written, ‘The words – all caps, linear, professional – tied together the sacred (high Modernism and Gothic arches) and the profane (home accessories and a great place for a wedding)’ (S. Tallman, ‘Artist Project: Barbara Bloom’, in Frieze, Issue 138, April 2011). In doing so, Bloom encourages us to understand ‘style’ as an independent concept, not tied to vagaries of fashion or pre-existing aesthetic assumptions.

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    Tracy Williams, New York.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    S. Tallman, 'Barbara Bloom', in Frieze, Issue 138, April 2011 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 95).


    New York, International Center of Photography, The Collections Of Barbara Bloom, 2008 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 142). This exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau.