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  • Provenance

    Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Margo Leavin Gallery, John Baldessari: Sediments, May 22 - August 31, 2010

  • Literature

    "Art Review: John Baldessari at Margo Leavin Gallery", Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2010 (online)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "You just have to give [the viewer] something to hang on to and they can begin to unravel it themselves. It’s kind of like reading a detective story, you get a clue, you follow that." John Baldessari

    John Baldessari has spent his decades-long career exploring and expounding on the nature of the photographic image, of the cult of California, and of the complexity of narrative imagery and the associative power of language. Having grown up in Southern California, and subsequently attending numerous schools in the region, Baldessari’s work has always reflected the culture and climate of his surroundings, be it in the appropriated imagery pulled from film and other pictorial media, to the ability of west coast artists to shun and reject established artistic norms codified out east. The style of work for which he is best known involves his masking components of found photographs, obfuscating their original intent while imbuing them with newfound meaning. His Sediment series, which he began in 2010, is a dramatic evolution of this theme. Sediment: Leg and Shirt, first exhibited in his Margo Leavin exhibition in 2010, is an incredible and enigmatic work from the series. Depicting simply the plaid pattern of what appears to be a man’s shirt, wrapped by a svelte leg, Sediment: Leg and Shirt is by turns illuminating and mysterious. Baldessari has eliminated any other signifiers within the composition to focus solely on these two elements, but he goes one further by clearly printing “LEG AND SHIRT” along the lower margin. Baldessari gives the viewer the barest of hints and in doing so achieves a powerfully composed image built on the barest economy of means. By turning viewers into detectives, Baldessari compels them to relinquish the passive processing of imagery in lieu of proactive construction of meaning. His works are accordingly imbued with riddles, puns, cryptic signs and loops in logic. By repossessing (or reenacting) found imagery, Baldessari calls into question notions of authorship and identity. The one thing left for the viewer to ascertain, the work seems to imply, is the absence of truth.


Sediment: Leg and Shirt

inkjet print and acrylic on canvas
54 x 70 in. (137.2 x 177.8 cm)

$100,000 - 150,000 

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

New Now Evening Sale

New York Auction 29 February 2016 6pm