Moscow: John Baldessari: “1+1=1” at Garage Center for Contemporary Culture Through November 24th 2013

November 23rd, 2013

John Baldessari, Double Play: Eggs and Sausage (2012), Courtesy of Champagne Holdings, LLC © John Baldessari

On view at Garage Moscow, co-curated by Garage’s new Chief Curator Kate Fowle and International Advisor Hans Ulrich Obrist, 1+1=1 is the first exhibition of work by John Baldessari in Russia. The exhibition is a compilation of Baldessari’s most recent series of paintings, exploring the relationship between text and image in visual art.

John Baldessari, Double Bill:… and Duchamp (2012), Courtesy of Eric and Elisabeth Feder, Miami © John Baldessari

The exhibited works were created in 2011 and 2012, organized into four parts: Double Vision, Double Feature, Double Bill (Part 1 and 2), and Double Play. This exhibition reveals selections from all of the Double series in one display for the first time ever.  The paintings represent Baldessari’s new, playful take on masterpieces found in art history textbooks. Inspirational artists for Baldessari’s new series include Chardin, de Chirico, Courbet, Duchamp, Magritte, Manet, Warhol, and many more. Baldessari has chosen a small portion of each master’s work and created a new image of his own, placing it with a text that appears below the image as a caption or title. The nature of the text below the image varies: in Double Vision, one artist’s name is displayed below an interpretation of a work by a different well-known artist; in Double Feature, the text is a title taken from film noir; in Double Bill, images are taken from two different works with only one of the artist’s names written below; and, in Double Play, a song title is written below the image.

John Baldessari, Double Vision Warhol (Violet and Yellow) (2011), Courtesy of the artist © John Baldessari

It’s an interesting turn for Baldessari, who has long addressed the aura of artist’s and their masterworks over the past several decades of his career, but here he opens his work up to a broader cultural reading, allowing film, advertisement and cultural signifiers (in one, a classic Oscar Wilde portrait is given the Baldessari treatment, underscored by a bizarrely evocative text reading “Eggs and Sausage.”  Meanings are left free to wander in and out of the text, placing Baldessari’s work at the center of diverse cultural collisions and readings.

John Baldessari, Double Feature The Setup (2011), Courtesy of the Collection of Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer, Miami © John Baldessari

On September 18th, Baldessari had a public conversation with fellow conceptualist Ilya Kabakov (an artist also seeing his first exhibition of work on the other side of the Atlantic), celebrating his first visit to Moscow and the presentation of a new work he created for Garage specifically for the Biennale.  Additionally, Garage is hosting a free educational program called “Adventures in Non-boring Art” to accompany the exhibition of Baldessari’s work.

1+1=1 opened on September 21st and will continue through November 24, 2013.

John Baldessari, Double Feature: Sudden Fear (2011), Courtesy of the artist and Sprueth Magers Berlin London © John Baldessari

—E. Baker


Related Links:
Exhibition Page [Garage Center for Contemporary Culture]