The world's most respected conceptual artist John Baldessari opens a new London show on January 10th.
The legendary californian, who turns 86 this year, has been creating witty, deceptively casual splices of images and text for decades, is working with a simple concept for this exhibition: a series of Hollywood film stills each paired with a painting by Spanish surrealist Joan Miró.
Miro, and Life, in General, at Marian Goodman in Soho, continues Baldessari's investigation into the history of painting. Each work features a detail from one particular Miro painting and pairs it with a seemingly incongruous, classic, Hollywood film still, which he refers to as ‘Life in General’. Each pairing is further partnered with a word – ‘Reliable’, ‘Necessary’, ‘True’, ‘Unfailing’ etc. – each a synonym of the other. Neither the original root word nor the specific Miró painting is revealed, asking viewers to respond in their own way and to create their own new composite meaning. This pairing of disparate elements from art history, popular culture, and language, both dissembles the canon and reassembles it in a new form.
As a towering figure of 20th-century American conceptual art and as one of the most influential teachers of a generation of artists, Baldessari’s new works ultimately questions the very nature of the artist’s place within the canon of art history itself.
The Gallery is also organising a Pop-up shop of Baldessari ephemera from the 18th February.
Marian Goodman Gallery
5-8 Lower John St