John Baldessari, ‘Deer and Octopus and Boat (With Figure Standing), from the portfolio Hegel's Cellar’, 1986, Rago
John Baldessari, ‘Deer and Octopus and Boat (With Figure Standing), from the portfolio Hegel's Cellar’, 1986, Rago
John Baldessari, ‘Deer and Octopus and Boat (With Figure Standing), from the portfolio Hegel's Cellar’, 1986, Rago

Paired with Cindy Sherman

John Baldessari—heralded as the West Coast father of conceptual art—is known for reducing art down to its most fundamental gestures through his use of appropriation and the incorporation of found images into his work. His infusion of new meaning and energy into his art is evidenced in Boat (With Figure Standing) and Deer and Octopus, two prints from the artist’s 1986 Hegel’s Cellar portfolio. Alluding to Hegel’s theory of the “Psychic Abyss,” Baldessari combines film stills to convey a sense of foreboding with the solitary figure in a row boat, and playfulness with the juxtaposition of a deer and an octopus. Baldessari has exhibited internationally, and was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2009.

Publisher: Multiples, Inc., New York

Sheet: 29 1/4 x 21 1/2 in (each); Framed: 39 1/4 x 32 in (individually)

Signature: Each signed and numbered

Private Collection, New York

About John Baldessari

It is hard to characterize John Baldessari's varied practice—which includes photomontage, artist’s books, prints, paintings, film, performance, and installation—except through his approach of good-humored irreverence. Baldessari is commonly associated with Conceptual or Minimalist art, though he has called this characterization “a little bit boring.” His two-dimensional works often incorporate found images, composed in layers or presented as distinct pieces with an element of surprise, like a brightly colored geometric shape in the place of a face or a starkly printed sardonic caption. Baldessari has demonstrated a lasting interest in language and semantics, articulating these concerns through the use of puns or the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated images and words, as in his 1978 work Blasted Allegories. His self-referencing photomontages and use of text have been sources of inspiration for countless artists, including Cindy Sherman, David Salle, and Barbara Kruger. Baldessari identifies his own artistic lineage, saying, "I would prefer to go to the source with Duchamp rather than credit Warhol as an influence."

American, b. 1931, National City, California, based in Los Angeles, California