New York

John Baldessari

Sonnabend Gallery

Over the last 15 years or so, John Baldessari’s contribution to the development of post-Modernism has become increasingly evident. That Baldessari considers his art making and his teaching to be a unified practice points up his modest pragmatism: art and ideas are to be used rather than fetishized. In a manner deceptively whimsical and open-ended, he has staked out the present modes of critical inquiry (photo deconstruction, investigation of mass media, appropriation, and allegory) with uncanny rigor.

Out of an early affinity to John Cage’s esthetic, Baldessari works from direct, literal perceptions of the world, finding his subject matter in immediate experience. For him, however, bypassing the calcification of art-historical genres and canons leads not to a fascination with randomness but to the question of the role of the unconscious in shaping what finally congeals into an image.

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