Marian Goodman Gallery is pleased to present a new series of works by John Baldessari, Pollock/ Benton, which will open on Friday, November 11th and will remain on view through December 23rd, 2016.
The relationship of painting to photography, image, and language has characterized Baldessari’s work from the early Text and Photo Text Paintings from the 1960s up until the present. Over the past five years, the artist’s focus on the art historical canon has given new expression to these hybrid forms and more recently made painting a central subject in several bodies of work. The Doubles series from 2011 and 2012, including Double Vision , Double Bill, Double Play and Movie Scripts: Art, 2014, juxtapose images from 15th – 20th century paintings with texts from art history, popular music, and film noir, extracting details in order to upend the original and divest it of context, allowing the viewer to deduce new meaning and create new ways of seeing.
“Baldessari’s focus is on the intermediate space – the creative blank spot—between image and text, between painting and photography, between seeing and reading. For Baldessari meaning arises when two things come together, whether words or image;, when “one brings them close enough together that there is a synapse, and something new is created so that out of the two meanings a “third meaning” is generated” (Martin Engler, in “ On Concept Art and Metaphors: Painting after the end of Painting”, in John Baldessari: The Stadel Paintings, 2015).
In the current exhibition Pollock/Benton, the artist expands on this practice and inquiry into painting, concentrating on two pivotal figures from the expressly American tradition: one the regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, and the other, the Abstract Expressionist master and Benton’s protégé, Jackson Pollock. Examining nodes of influence between the two, he seeks a new “intermediate space” revealing in the interstices of overlaps, intersections, and blank spaces of the work a complex legacy of correspondence and contrast. The insertion of blank spaces have their antecedent in the geometric erasure found in Baldessari’s works from the 1970’s to the 1990’s and serve as a tabula rasa for a new narrative, in which editing and removal and the purposeful overpainting of an image is a means for voiding old fragments into newly constructed combinations. Pairing images with incongruous texts from everyday life – “Normal”, “Daily”, “Routine”, “Balanced”, “Ordinary”, Typical”, Pollock/ Benton reiterates the paradox of montage and assembly at the heart of his practice, placing disparate fragments together and offering the viewer the opportunity to create a new composite.
“For me, Jackson Pollock’s work was a line in the sand in Art History. That is: before Pollock and after Pollock, or B.P. and A.P.. I have married Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock together because Benton was Pollock’s teacher.” - John Baldessari, 2016
John Baldessari was born in 1931 in National City, California. He currently lives in Santa Monica, California. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt Germany (2015), the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow Russia (2013) and at the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands (2012). Baldessari’s work was the subject of the major retrospective, Pure Beauty, which retraced his career from 1962 to 2010. Organized by Tate Modern, London, the exhibition travelled to MACBA, Barcelona; LACMA, Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from 2010-2011. His work was included in the 47th Venice Biennale (1997) and 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) where he won the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Carnegie International (1985-86), the Whitney Biennial (1983), as well as the Documenta V (1972) and VII (1982).
John Baldessari has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the 2015 School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston Medal Award and the 2012 Kaiserring Award by the city of Goslar, Germany.
Upcoming projects will include an exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery, London in 2017.
In April 2017, John Baldessari: Catalogue Raisonne: Volume 4, spanning the years 1994-2004, will be published by Yale University Press.
Please join us at the opening reception for the artist on Friday, November 11th, from 6-8 pm.
For further information, please contact the Gallery at: 212 977 7160.