The following description was submitted by the event organizer.
Blue Sky is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by John Baldessari from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation that highlights the iconic conceptual artist's use of photography from the 1980s into the 2010s. Master of Appropriation comes at a pivotal time after Baldessari's passing earlier this year, as we reflect upon his many contributions to the canon of contemporary art.
“The late John Baldessari is one of the most important artists in the world today,” comments Jordan D. Schnitzer. “His works are in every national and international museum. Baldessari took common images and manipulated them; with circles of color, putting people upside down, whatever it took to intrigue and confuse us. In so doing, he makes us stop and look at his art and say, ‘What is going on here?’ It is that moment he has got us thinking about whatever comes into our mind and, maybe in that moment, we will better understand our issues and the issues of our time. No other artist of our time influenced as many young artists. He helped them understand that they did not need permission to make whatever art they wanted to make!”
Since the 1970s, the artist's use of photography has taken many different forms, with the constant through-line being his signature wit and critical voice. All of the the works in Master of Appropriation contain found photographs, including vintage film stills, news images, and fashion runway photos that Baldessari collected and reconfigured into new compositions and narratives. The artist’s playful repurposing of these images, often accompanied by text or combined with painting and printmaking techniques, reveals that a photograph’s meaning is never static and instead is tied intrinsically to its context.
Master of Appropriation is curated by Zemie Barr, Exhibitions Manager at Blue Sky, and generously supported by The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation/Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer.