BALDESSARI, JOHN. [MOCA, LOS ANGELES]

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Coosje van Bruggen, Los Angeles, 1990.

Softcover, 256 pp., Richly illustrated in b/w, color throughout.

Juxtaposing images from popular culture and mundane reality, conceptual artist Baldessari turns the vernacular of mass perception back on itself, jolting viewers out of programmed ways of seeing. An artist with a keen sense of humor and an instinctive feel for the absurdity of much of modern culture, he creates open-ended messages, clues for the spectator to decipher. Wedding 375 plates to a perceptive essay that tracks the Southern Californian's ever-shifting modes, this monograph--a tie-in with a touring retrospective--explores Baldessari's imagist "mind games" of the 1960s and '70s, text-and-image parables, composite photoworks blending newsreel-like reportage with fabrication, collages and installations. Van Bruggen ( Bruce Nauman ) illuminates how Baldessari wrests poetry, meaning and hope from alchemical fusions of movie stills, words, billboard posters, ads, old photographs and art-historical references. 

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