Blah, Blah, Blah, 2016
Blah, Blah, Blah, 2016
Millenium Piece (with Blue Apple), 1999
16.50 x 16.50 in
41.9 x 41.9 cm
Edition of 100
Signed and numbered by the artist on recto.
This print, from Baldessari’s Millennium Piece series, reflects the artist’s deadpan sense of humor and idiosyncratic use of color.
It’s hard to overstate the impact that John Baldessari has had on the art of his time, in part because he has been something of an index case for a particular breed of conceptual art that has spread to all corners of the art world. Beginning in 1970, when he took all of his paintings from his San Diego studio—a decade’s worth of work—and incinerated them as part of his “Cremation Project,” Baldessari has systematically tested the boundaries of what can be considered art, creating strangely joyous works out of gestures as simple as hitting various things with a golf club (which he did for a series of photos), waving at ships (ditto), and placing dots over the faces of figures in old Hollywood film stills. As for how these documentations of conceptual gestures were able to function as art objects, well, Baldessari said, “the aesthetic takes care of itself.”
These ideas and the resulting artworks that seethe with the tension between art and non-art—the tightrope that the artist has walked throughout his mature career—spread like wildfire in the 1970s, in large part because Baldessari held sway over the cutting-edge art program at the California Institute of the Arts, better known as CalArts. As a teacher there in the 1970s and ’80s, he inspired a group of students that included James Welling, Matt Mullican, David Salle, Jack Goldstein, Tony Oursler, and Troy Brauntuch (several of whom became known as part of the “Pictures Generation”) with a philosophy that drew deeply on the approach of Marcel Duchamp, making direct address to the viewer’s mind rather than eye. Duchamp, after all, was something of a West Coast patron saint after the Pasadena Art Museum gave the French artist his first American retrospective in 1967—54 years after his Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 radicalized the East Coast.
Baldessari has said that “categories are meaningless,” and over the course of his career he has ranged widely in his use of mediums, developing signatures styles as diverse as sculptural cut-canvas paintings presenting surrealistically isolated body parts (a nose, for instance), videos of himself performing repetitive tasks, and, most famously, his dot-obscured compositions of stock photos and film stills—an homage to the celluloid industry in his backyard conveying both a deep sense of alienation and playful whimsicality. Text work has also been an important part of his practice, beginning with his seminal 1971 print I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, in which the artist had those words repeatedly scrawled in the manner of a disciplined middle-school student; other pieces combine text and image for destabilizing or perplexing juxtapositions.
That Baldessari has been true to his word regarding “boring art” is evident in his status today as one of the most celebrated artists alive. In 2009 he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, the art world’s highest honor, and he has been the subject of many critically acclaimed retrospectives, including the 2010 show “John Baldessari: Pure Beauty.” A multivolume catalogue raisonné is currently being assembled, with the first volume published in 2012.
John Kasnetsis, Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with the sculpture Capricorn, Sedona, Arizona, 1948.
Photo: Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR, Max Ernst Foundation.
Image: Max Ernst in Photographs
October 30, 2022–February 12, 2023
Max Ernst was photographed in various contexts and situations. Private snapshots, classic portraits, and staged arrangements with artist friends tell of his multifaceted personality. The upcoming exhibition presents the museum’s extensive collection of photographs by Man Ray, Lee Miller, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Berenice Abbott, Robert Lebeck, and others.
The Max Ernst Museum
The Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR is dedicated to the life and work of the seminal artist, image poet, and cosmopolitan Max Ernst (1891–1976). The modern museum building is located in Brühl next to Cologne, the birthplace of the artist.
Numerous paintings, drawings, frottages, and collages as well as an unique collection of more than 70 bronze casts and sculptures invite visitors to immerse themselves in the fantastic worlds of Max Ernst’s imagination and demonstrate his boundless creativity.
The collection spans 70 years of his life: his time in Brühl and Bonn, his Dadaist activities in the Rhineland, his contributions to the Surrealist movement in France, his exile in the USA, and finally his return to Europe in 1953.
To follow actual discourses and new perspectives on surrealism and Max Ernst’s art, the Max Ernst Museum organizes temporary exhibitions with international artists ranging from the classical modernism to the present.
From October 2022 the Max Ernst Museum will be directed by Madeleine Frey, who is currently director of Galerie Stadt Sindelfingen, the municipal museum for contemporary art. She will follow Dr Achim Sommer after 16 years of succesful work as museum director of the Max Ernst Museum.
Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR
Comesstraße 42 / Max-Ernst-Allee 1
Looks Like You’ve Reached the End (Found), 2022
59 x 84cm
Edition 100, signed certificate
Best known for his iconic album cover designs, over the past four decades Peter Saville has consistently presented imagery that he feels resonates with the given moment. In relation to this work the artist explains that as his own sensibility was founded in the late analogue era, he often finds himself critically aware of the exponential momentum of digitisation – a process which he describes as ‘the atomisation of everything into disparate bytes of information, the endless permutations of which seem to negate seeing beyond the cloud itself’. A problem he articulates in this exclusive edition for the ICA with both image and title being derived from anomalous results of online searches.
Peter Saville. (Born 1955, Manchester). With a practice located between art and design, Peter Saville’s work merges aspects of both. This unparalleled approach has resulted in a unique contribution to culture. His hybrid position came into being partly through the unprecedented autonomy afforded to him, aged 22, as co-founder and art director of the legendary independent UK label Factory Records. Unlike most ‘commercial artists’ of the time and indeed since, Saville was free to design without approval. Making his art in the context of mass production, he accessed an audience through pop music, best exemplified in the series of record sleeves he created for Joy Division and New Order between 1979 and 1993.
His radical designs seemed to break all the rules, sometimes omitting information about artists or titles, or employing visual codes, fundamentally questioning modes of consumption and communication. He cites Factory’s idealism, rather than any commercial objective, which allowed him and other influential Factory artists to communicate ideas, aesthetics and ultimately values to a formative audience. Through the medium of design and art direction, Saville continued to create iconic work across music, fashion and culture.
His achievements were celebrated in The Peter Saville Show at the Design Museum in London in 2003. His first major show in a contemporary art museum was at the Migros Museum in Zurich in 2005, and he continues to exhibit internationally. His first monograph was published by Frieze in 2003. He is a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) and won the London Design Medal in 2013. In 2020 he received the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of the positive impact of his work.
Nature Twins #15
#6 of 9 in series
Art project is about the duality of human personality which deals with embracing different unique aspects of oneself and accepting them. At the same time it is about multiverse theory, due to which our decisions determine one of a billions optional ways we can take. Created all over the World and containing 12 years of Synchrodogs work.