Two Boats (from Hegel's Cellar Portfolio) - Print by John Baldessari
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John Baldessari
Two Boats (from Hegel's Cellar Portfolio)

1986

About

It is hard to characterize John Baldessari’s varied practice—which includes photomontage, artist’s books, prints, paintings, film, performance, and installation—except through his approach of good-humored irreverence. Baldessari is commonly associated with Conceptual or Minimalist art, though he has called this characterization “a little bit boring.” His two-dimensional works often incorporate found images, composed in layers or presented as distinct pieces with an element of surprise, like a brightly colored geometric shape in the place of a face or a starkly printed sardonic caption. Baldessari has demonstrated a lasting interest in language and semantics, articulating these concerns through the use of puns or the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated images and words, as in his 1978 work Blasted Allegories. His self-referencing photomontages and use of text have been sources of inspiration for countless artists, including Cindy Sherman, David Salle, and Barbara Kruger. Baldessari identifies his own artistic lineage, saying, “I would prefer to go to the source with Duchamp rather than credit Warhol as an influence.” Hegel’s Cellar reflects Baldessari's his interests in philosophy and identity. For this series of ten aquatints, Baldessari employed stock imagery in montages to examine Hegel’s theory of an “abyss (or cellar) as a psychic space where one preserve[s] images unconsciously” (Wendy Weitman in The Prints of John Baldessari: A Catalogue Raisonne 1971–2007, 23-24). As Weitman observes, the plate titled Two Boats is an example of Baldessari’s investigations behind the nature of “group think” – the individual surrendering selfhood to the masses – a phenomenon he first studied in Elias Canetti’s 1960 treatise Crowds and Power. This condition of loss of individuality in the mass is reflected in the covered faces underscoring the loss of unique personality.

Details

  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
    Excellent
  • Dimensions

    H 19.5 in. x W 26.5 in.

    H 49.53 cm x W 67.31 cm

  • Gallery location
    New York, NY
  • Reference number
    LU3292812473
  • More editions & sizes
    Edition of 35, 10 AP's Price: $6,500

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