Mixografia is pleased to present BLAH, celebrating the release of a new edition by John Baldessari.
John Baldessari’s new Mixografia edition, BLAH, draws from his emblematic use of language and archival film photography. The piece reads in bold text across three lines: “J SAID BLAH SNORE”. The text conceals a double meaning, as the phrase contains all the letters of the artist’s name while also conveying Baldessari’s iconic linguistic playfulness. The letters, each saturated with a different contrasting color, are superimposed atop still images sourced from classic films. They appear to be painted with a continuous brushstroke applied across them with a heavy horizontal impasto-like texture. Baldessari uses motifs and messages that come together in an enigmatic yet familiar representation of the artist and his work.
BLAH is the latest edition with Mixografia in a longstanding partnership between the artist and the workshop. The exhibition will also include A B C Art (Low Relief, Part II: PMBWFDLJ from 2009, which adopts a similar sense of wordplay, and embraces the capabilities of high and low relief. He uses depictions of food, body parts, toys and sly references to popular culture to represent each letter of the alphabet. In this arrangement of the artwork, Baldessari reorganizes the letters into a pangram, or a phrase containing all the letters of the alphabet.
Also on view will be Baldessari’s previous project with Mixografia, Eight Colorful Inside Jobs. In this suite of prints, he simplifies the means of representation to their most essential elements: line, form, and color. He achieves dimensionality and the illusion of perspective through the three-dimensional structure of the paper, and identifies the colors in bold print along the bottom edge of each print. As in BLAH, Baldessari uses the texture of a heavy brushstroke to embrace the historical importance of painting as a medium.
This series recalls Baldessari’s short film Six Colorful Inside Jobs from 1977, which will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition. The film portrays a professional house painter covering an enclosed room with a different color each day, gradually moving through each of the primary and secondary colors.
By reimagining these conceptual themes throughout his career, Baldessari considers the cyclical nature of making art, while also moving forward in new directions. BLAH embraces Baldessari’s use of text, the color spectrum, and references to the history of film and photography as motifs, while also incorporating his own subtle self-portrait embodied in his sense of humor and the letters of his name.
Baldessari’s artwork has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions and in over 1000 group exhibitions worldwide. His awards and honors include the 2014 National Medal of Arts Award from President Barack Obama, an award from the International Print Center New York in 2016, memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, the BACA International 2008, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, awarded by La Biennale di Venezia and the City of Goslar Kaiserring in 2012.