John Baldessari - Evening Editions New York Thursday, April 21, 2011 | Phillips
  • Literature

    Cirrus Editions p. 89; Sharon Coplan Hurowitz 40

  • Catalogue Essay

    Baldessari worked extensively in printmaking during the late 1980s. In addition to this monumental etching series, he collaborated again with Cirrus Editions and completed two of his largest and most intricate lithographs: Fallen Easel and Object (with Flaw), each composing multiple, individually framed components in irregular and asymmetrical compositions. While Black Dice and Heaven and Hell are printed on multiple sheets of paper, the complexity of these lithographs represents a radical departure in Baldessari’s practice and in contemporary printmaking overall. Describing the genesis of this development, Baldessari remarked: “At first I was such a purist, I just wanted my photographs on the wall. And she [art dealer Ileana Sonnabend] said we were getting too much damage. You’ll really have to use frames. I did not want that but if I have to, then I thought I’m going to make it part of the art process. So I started building architecturally with frames.”… By the late 1980s, Baldessari applied this radical strategy to his printmaking. Working with Cirrus Editions printers, he cut up, fragmented, arranged, and framed photographic images into dynamic compositions of lithography and screenprint… A foreboding sensibility permeates Object (with Flaw). Unlike  Fallen Easel, Object (with Flaw) is built around a large central motif: a cowering, naked girl clutching a teddy bear. Magnified in scale, this disturbing image is printed on plastic, giving the pair an objectlike quality that further underscores its ominous significance. Other compositional features contribute to the threatening mood, The color areas, which were printed separately and sit on top of the photographic images, draw the viewer’s eye to the frightened girl, as does the destabilizing diagonal intruding into the left. Nearly all of the images in Object (with Flaw) revolve around women and animals. Faces are obscured or cropped and limbs and extremities are highlighted. Legs, feet, and hands dominate, and the hands all reach to touch or grab the bears the women cling to so desperately. This powerful montage resonates with the idea of women’s vulnerability and a tangible sense of violence and imminent danger. Baldessari has often discussed his fundamental distrust of society. “Order is not the order that we think it is. There is always something about to erupt.” That portentous sentiment reverberates here. Wendy Weitman, John Baldessari, A Catalogue Raisonne of Prints and Multiples, 1971-2007, Hudson Hills Press, Vermont, 2009, pp. 26-28.


Object (with Flaw)

Lithograph on three sheets of Somerset and Arches 88 cut paper and one irregularly shaped sheet of Plexiglas, all printed to the edges,
overall approx: 101 1/2 x 56 in. (257.8 x 142.2 cm)
signed and annotated 'AP 9' in pencil (one of 15 artist's proofs, the edition was 35), co-published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles and Multiples, Inc., New York, all in very good condition, [Couple and Hands] framed together, [Foot/Gun] framed and [Bear/Girl] on Plexiglas.

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $32,500

Evening Editions

21 April 2011
New York