John Baldessari - Contemporary Art Part I New York Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Philomene Magers, Munich; Private collection, London; Private collection, New York

  • Exhibited

    San Diego, Museum of Contemporary Art, John Baldessari: National City, March 10 – June 30, 1996; New York, Sonnabend Gallery, John Baldessari: National City Part Two- 1996, 1997; Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Palazzo delle Albere, Johm Baldessari, December 15, 2000 – March 11, 2001

  • Literature

    H. M. Davies and A. Hales, eds., John Baldessari: National City, New York, 1996, p. 72 (illustrated); G. Belli, M. Cranston, D. Diederichsen, and T. Weski, John Baldessari, Milan, 2000, no. 24, p. 104 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    From 1966-1969 John Baldessari created the series of photo-text works which catapulted him into the international art rostrum. These works portrayed images of National City, California whilst driving, an oblique reference to America’s time-honored favorite pastime—taken from askew and often blurred by the movement of the car, the photographs become opaque renderings of American culture and commerce. Baldessari used photo emulsion to transfer the images onto canvas and the text then was painted on by professional sign painters he hired. In the entire process, the artist obliterated his own hand, creating along the way a unique conceptual approach that combines photography, art, and the Southern California culture he witnessed.

    Thirty years after this series originated, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego invited the artist to revisit these seminal works. Baldessari accepted and Pink Pig, 2305 Highland Ave., National City, Calif., 1996 derives from his reinvestigation. In all, eleven more works were created including the present lot in a fashion updated to reflect contemporary standards and changes in perception. According to the artist, color was necessary as our society would not accept the black and white images as critical reflections, thus ink-jet prints replaced the earlier method.

    For Baldessari, this series is more than just homage to the Southern California landscape and his approach to Conceptual art. Born in National City in 1931, the photo-texts reference the locales he knew and loved, but above that Baldessari, in his well-documented Cremation Project on July 24, 1970, destroyed all work prior to beginning the 1966 National City pieces. For him, all work began with this series, and Pink Pig, 2305 Highland Ave., National City, Calif. represents his highest achievements to this end.


Pink Pig, 2305 Highland Ave., National City, Calif.

Acrylic and ink-jet on canvas.
58 3/4 x 44 5/8 in. (149.2 x 113.3 cm).

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $456,000

Contemporary Art Part I

17 May 2007
7pm New York