Description

With the "Blasted Allegories" series John Baldessari explores, through a complex structure of established rules and conditions, the endless possibilities of ordering and reordering of images, words, and meanings. With the goal of producing a literal dictionary of photographic images culled from commercial television, Baldessari shot one screen at regular, ten minute intervals to create a selection of random, raw images. Randomly assigned words, and then arranged in sentences, these photographs serve as a nexus through which to understand persistent variability despite the imposition of systematic order. According to the artist, the title, inspired by a phrase used by Nathaniel Hawthorne, suggests the use of allegory or metaphor as a cursed, problematic proposition.

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Additional Information

1978:"John Baldessari: Blasted Allegories," Sonnabend Gallery, New York
1994: "Southern California: the Conceptual Landscape," Madison Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin

Sonnabend Gallery, New York
Acquired from above by present owner

No apparent condition issues. All condition assessments exclude a work's frame.
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This work ships from East Elmhurst, NY, US.

About John Baldessari

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It is hard to characterize John Baldessari's (American, b. 1931) 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."

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Blasted Allegories (Colorful Sentence): Intertwined with Green Offshoot Intersecting at Pressure Point, 1978
Lot Number 37
C-prints on board
Work: 30.75 x 40 in (78.11 x 101.6 cm)
Frame: 31 x 40.5 x 1 in (78.74 x 102.87 x 2.54 cm)
Titled on recto

Online bidding for this work ended on November 13, 2015 at 1:00pm ET.

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John Baldessari
Blasted Allegories (Colorful Sentence): Intertwined with Green Offshoot Intersecting at Pressure Point
  • Dimensions
    30.75 x 40 in (78.11 x 101.6 cm)