John Baldessari: 1+1=1


From 21 September 2013 to 24 November 2013


Garage Center for Contemporary Art


The first exhibition of John Baldessari’s work in Russia, 1+1=1, presents the artist’s most recent completed series of paintings that offer a playful ‘double take’ on the canon of art history and continue his longstanding investigation into the tensions between text and image in art. Produced in 2011 and 2012, the works were created in four interconnected parts — Double Vision, Double Feature, Double Bill (Part 1 and 2) and Double Play. The exhibition at Garage will be the first time a selection from all the Double series are seen together.

*11 - 24 November, with purchase of one ticket you get the second ticket for free.

Using art history textbooks as his source, Baldessari has selected masterpieces from the 18th to the 20th centuries by artists including Chardin, de Chirico, Courbet, David, Duchamp, Gaugin, Hockney, Magritte, Malevich, Manet, Matisse and Warhol. In each instance, he gives the works a new lease on life by choosing a fragment and interpreting it as a complete image in its own right before 'doubling' or pairing it with a text that appears as a title. Works in Double Vision pair one artist's name with a visual fragment from another well-known artist; Double Feature combines an outtake of an Old Master painting with a title from film noir; Double Bill juxtaposes images culled from two works, with one of the artists named below and the other not; and Double Play couples an image with a title from a song.

1+1=1 is co-curated by Garage's new Chief Curator, Kate Fowle, and International Advisor, Hans Ulrich Obrist. The show is presented as part of the citywide cultural program developed in conjunction with the 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.

In celebration of Baldessari's first visit to Moscow, Garage is hosting a public conversation between the artist and Ilya Kabakov on Wednesday 18 September 2013. Over the opening weekend of the Biennale, the artist will also unveil a new work created specifically for Garage on two billboards in Gorky Park. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated 150-page, bilingual hardcover catalogue with an interview between the artist and curators, as well as a new essay by curator and writer Daniel Birnbaum, Director of Moderna Museet, the museum of modern art in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Education Program: Adventures in “Non-boring” Art

Garage Center for Contemporary Culture presents the education program Adventures in "Non-boring" Art to compliment the exhibition 1+1=1. The program includes a series of lectures, meetings with artists, tours, and a family program.

Entrance to all education events is free.

About the Artist

John Baldessari was born in 1931 in National City, California, USA and currently lives and works in Santa Monica, California. A pioneer of conceptual art practice, the artist’s career spans five decades and embraces painting, photography, film, video, books, prints, objects and installation.

Since his first show in 1968, Baldessari has exhibited widely across Europe and the USA, producing nearly 100 solo exhibitions by 2013. His first retrospective was organized by the New Museum in New York in 1981; a decade later, in 1990, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles developed a survey show that travelled across the United States; and in 1995, This Not That was the first retrospective to be organized in Europe by Cornerhouse, Manchester, which travelled to London, Stuttgart, Ljubljana, Oslo and Lisbon. In 2009, the artist was the subject of a lifetime retrospective, Pure Beauty, organized by Tate Modern in London, which travelled to Museu d’Art Contemporain in Barcelona; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York throughout 2011.

Participating in hundreds of group exhibitions all over the world since 1957, Baldessari has been selected for six Whitney Biennials (1969, 1972, 1977, 1979, 1982, 2008), three Documenta’s (1972, 1982, 2012) and two Venice Biennales (1997, 2009). In 2011, Baldessari was included in eleven of the 40 exhibitions developed as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945 – 1980.

Over his career, the artist has received numerous awards, including the Kaiserring by the city of Goslar, Germany (2012); the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale (2009); the Lifetime Achievement Award, Americans for the Arts, New York (2005) and the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement, College Art Association, New York (1999).

A long-time teacher, Baldessari was on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia (1970 – 1988) and the University of California, Los Angeles (1996 – 2007). He received a bachelors (1953) and masters (1957) degrees from San Diego State College, continuing his studies at Otis Art Institute (1957 – 1959).