John Baldessari - Photographs New York Monday, April 9, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich

  • Literature

    Yale University Press, John Baldessari Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 4, p. 314, variant

  • Catalogue Essay

    John Baldessari first exhibited the Duress series in 2003, responding to the lasting sociopolitical impact of 9/11. In keeping with his practice, he sourced his imagery by photographing movies playing on his television set. These granular stills depict the perilous efforts of figures as they scale and traverse building exteriors. Baldessari’s classic implementation of primary colors obliterates all individual characteristics, simultaneously constructing ambiguous, yet universally known figures. The first-person and third-person narratives that arise from the jarring scenes prompt questions of isolation, stress, danger, guilt, determination, and even resilience. The work on offer here is the maquette, or preliminary study, Baldessari fabricated while originally conceptualizing the series. Experimenting with color, composition, and concept, this maquette illuminates the multifaceted nature of Baldessari’s artistic process.

    The final painting executed from this maquette was featured in the traveling retrospective John Baldessari: Pure Beauty. Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Tate Modern, the exhibition celebrated Baldessari’s expansive experimentation with and impact on contemporary art.


Duress Series: Person Climbing Exterior Wall of Tall Building/Person on Ledge of Tall Building/Person on Girders of Unfinished Tall Building (Maquette)

Archival digital print on graph paper with pencil.
5 3/4 x 17 1/8 in. (14.6 x 43.5 cm)
Overall 14 x 22 in. (35.6 x 55.9 cm)

Signed, titled and dated in pencil on the graph paper mount.

$40,000 - 60,000 

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New York Auction 9 April 2018