Two People (Front View) and Helicopter/ Two People (Side View) with Art (Maquette), 1990
Film still photograph, acetate, gouache and wax pencil
27.9 × 35.6 cm
11 × 14 inches
© John Baldessari 1990. Courtesy Estate of John Baldessari
Courtesy Sprüth Magers
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
A great exhibition on right now
The Story Underneath
Curated by Nana Bahlmann
September 9–October 29, 2022
Sprüth Magers, New York
In his impressive and influential oeuvre spanning almost six decades, John Baldessari consistently exposed the complex and ambiguous narrative potential of images. Drawing from a carefully collected pool of visual signs, he explored how meaning is not necessarily an inherent quality of an image, but is created, deconstructed or
obscured when taken out of context, altered or combined with other images or words. Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers, the global representatives of the Estate of John Baldessari, are proud to present the first exhibition of the artist’s maquettes in over a decade. This will also be the inaugural exhibition at the gallery’s New York space, which opened this summer.
Curated by Nana Bahlmann and selected from a large body of rarely seen work, The Story Underneath assembles over seventy-five collages, photographs, film stills and drawings dating from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. The maquettes reflect how the artist anticipated the manifold ways in which we deal with and manipulate images today, long before Instagram or Pinterest came to dominate our visual environment. Reflecting the artist’s physical manipulations of his source material and the process of his pictorial reinventions, these works capture the heightened moment of transformation when commonplace images turn into artworks by Baldessari.