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  • Provenance

    Sonnabend Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    Geneva, BFAS Blondeau Fine Art Services, Faces, May - July 2006, no. 51

  • Literature

    Exhibition catalogue, BFAS Blondeau Fine Art Services, Faces, Geneva, 2006, no. 51 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “John Baldessari is a constant observer of art history, pop culture, and everyday life. Anything that makes him pause for just a second becomes fodder for his photography. His brain works so fast that he’s five steps ahead of most everyone. Material oozes out of him like sauna sweat. Problems are simple hurdles on the track to solutions, and Baldessari’s way of clearing them is always fun to watch. The dots that made him famous are a perfect example. Twenty-five years ago, he was shuffling through some old photos he’d filed away from the L.A. Times. They were of local dignitaries, the mayor, the fire chief, guys shaking hands and smiling at the camera. He initially bought them out of anger. ‘I figured they had this hold on me, though, and I felt I could find a way to use that energy somehow,’ Baldessari recounts. ‘Here I am isolated in my studio, and they’re out making decisions about my life, and I’m not participating in it. I was using some price stickers for another project, and I pulled out the photographs and covered their faces. I felt a great flood of relief. It leveled the playing field between them and me.’ His obliteration of the fakeness was like legal campaign sign defacing. Without the pose, the attention shifted to things less slimy like movement, dress and posture. John was finally able to look at the bastards in those pictures and smile.
    “The lesson taught him that by depriving people of what they really want to see, it frees them to change their priorities about what it truly means to understand something. It’s both a trick and a valuable service that has lived on in his work. ‘It’s a cat and mouse game where I give them clues,’ Baldessari says. ‘It’s like a great detective story where the writer leads you to think you’ve got it all figured out, then, ‘Ah hah! No you haven’t!’ Or kind of like when a woman enjoys being flirtatious instead of saying yes on the first date’.”
    (Ben Bamsey, ‘John Baldessari’, ArtWorks Magazine, Winter 2007)


Puzzle (Two Views)

Diptych: vinyl paint on black and white photographs.

Overall: 193 x 245.1 cm. (76 x 96 1/2 in).

This work is unique.

£200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for £193,250

Contemporary Art Evening

12 Feb 2010