John Baldessari - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
    Sale: Phillips de Pury & Company, New York, Contemporary Art, May 17, 2007, lot 59
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, Tate Modern, John Baldessari: Pure Beauty , October 13, 2009 – January 10, 2010; Barcelona, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, February 11 - April 25, 2010; Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 27 – September 12, 2010; New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 17, 2010 - January 9, 2011

  • Literature

    J. Morgan and L. Jones, John Baldessari: Pure Beauty, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2009, p. 283 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Something that is part of my personality is seeing the world slightly askew. It’s a perceptual stance. The real world is absurd sometimes, so I don’t make a conscious
    attempt, but because I come at it in a certain way, it seems really strange.

    (John Baldessari, interviewed by Nancy Bowen, On Art and Artists, produced by Lyn Blumenthal, Kate Horsfield, 1979).

    In The Overlap Series: Street Scene and Reclining Person (with Shoes), 2000, Baldessari’s perpetual challenge of conventions is brilliantly captured. In this powerful photographic work comprised of a series of seemingly unrelated images, Baldessari thoughtfully arranges a composition that presents, explores, and even exploits its own imagery as if through the lens of a distorted dream. Here, the sole of a shoe extends from a sidewalk lined with cars, palm trees, and an unassuming pedestrian. The silhouette of the reclining man’s left shoe is hand-drawn over the street scene with acrylic and crayon in Baldessari’s famed primary blue. Through this sequenced arrangement, the composition emerges as a narrative; the mystery of the story is left to the viewer to unfold. Through this treatment, the single frames become sharper and stronger, and reveal further detail when paired with a seemingly mismatched image.

    The wearer of the men’s shoes lays deserted on a seaside hill, somewhere far from the prosaic public world captured in the larger image. The remote scene and the lifeless body suddenly seem to be victim to foul-play. With the reclining leg extending from the car featured in one image, one can half imagine the figure laying still in the trunk, the fool of fraud or corruption. The cropping of the images is also an effective means of removing the identity of both the reclining man and the street scene, rendering them generic as if plucked from a dream. As the dream further unfolds, we are reminded of the teaching in Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams;
    the faces of people in dreams are often vague or indistinct while other trivial or more mundane things often assume enormous importance. The contrast of familiar and innocuous scenes with colorful nightmares opens the images up for questioning; our perception of ordinary images will never be the same.


The Overlap Series: Street Scene and Reclining Person (with Shoes)

digital photographic prints, acrylic, and crayon, mounted on Sintra
overall: 61 x 84 in. (154.9 x 213.4 cm)

$350,000 - 550,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

15 November 2012
New York