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JOHN BALDESSARI (B. 1931)
JOHN BALDESSARI (B. 1931)

Inflatable Women/Divers/Baby

Details
JOHN BALDESSARI (B. 1931)
Inflatable Women/Divers/Baby
Black and white photographs, oil tint, and vinyl paint
91 x 72½ in. (233 x 184 cm) overall
Executed in 1988.
Provenance
Galerie Laage-Salomon, Paris
Ikon Ltd. Fine Art, Los Angeles
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Laage-Salomon, John Baldessari: Oeuvres Récentes, May-June 1988.

Lot Essay

Baldessari did not make works that have resonant parallels in Duchamp's oeuvre. But we shouldn't conclude, then, that Duchamp's art was any less of an inspirational precedent for Baldessari. We can believe him when he remarks in (an interview with Moira Roth in 1973): "I see a kinship there (with Duchamp), I feel I understand what he's about." However, Baldessari had a somewhat different agenda than Duchamp, which is adumbrated, in those early text-and-photograph and text works. Baldessari's canvases talked about pictures because he wanted to discover a way to create pictorial art without making "paintings." Baldessari had discarded his identity as a painter when, for the Cremation Project, 1970, he burned much of his work that predated the conceptualist art of 1967. He discovered a way to make paintings but at the same time express extreme skepticism with practices of picture-making, historical and contemporary. As his output of the 1980's makes clear, Baldessari found his medium in a readily available resource of mass culture; the discarded photograph that could be recombined and altered to yield new configurations of meaning. He could be Duchampian and make pictures too (B. Clearwater, West Coast Duchamp, Miami, 1991, p. 95).

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