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Sprüth Magers

John Baldessari at Sprüth Magers

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At Sprüth Magers, the last body of work made by the late John Baldessari is on view. As a key figure in the conceptual art movement (often called the father of postmodernism), Baldessari helped to define a more humorous West Coast style of conceptual art-making that contrasted New York’s more self-serious tradition. The exhibition, titled “The Space Between,” adds text below found film stills that have been redacted with white or black paint so only certain parts of the image are visible. 

In pieces like “The Space Between Two Cowboys,” in which two cowboys are pictured next to wagon wheels with the background erased, the text and image neatly align. Others get more esoteric, like “The Space Between Roof, Sand, Hat, Neck, and Arm,” in which oddly shaped abstract form (presumably the space between the aforementioned objects) floats in the center of the canvas, leaving the viewer to fill in the blanks and create our own meaning between image and text. Baldessari’s oeuvre is all about communication — notions of perception and viewing that point to how we construct meaning in everyday life — and this final body of work is no exception.

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Photo: Installation view, “John Baldessari, The Space Between,” June 12–September 11, 2021, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles. All artworks © John Baldessari 2019. Courtesy Estate of John Baldessari © 2021. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer.