This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

21Aug/13

ARTWORK OF THE DAY: “DWARF AND RHINOCEROS (WITH LARGE BLACK SHAPE)” BY JOHN BALDESSARI

John Baldessari (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

John Baldessari, “Dwarf and Rhinoceros (with Large Black Shape),” detail, archival inkjet prints mounted on Lexan with inset aluminum frame, latex paint, archival inkjet print mounted on plexiglass, 1989/2013 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

“I’ve got to say, I don’t like being labeled a California artist, or a Los Angeles artist, or a Conceptual artist,” John Baldessari told us last year in a wide-ranging twi-ny talk. “I just like it to be artist.” The artist is back at Marian Goodman with a solo show that reinstalls a trio of works first seen in 1987-89, three rooms that feature Baldessari’s unique way of combining painting, photography, and sculpture; words, image, and meaning; the real world and its cinematic equivalent; and humanity and the animal kingdom. “Dwarf and Rhinoceros (with Large Black Shape)” (“Ni por Esas/ Not Even So: John Baldessari,” Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 1989) focuses on a black-and-white photo of a little man, seemingly squeezed into a rectangular frame, looking up and pointing at a rhino in the wild. “Two Stories (Yellow and Blue) and Commentary (with Giraffe)” (“Magiciens de la Terre,” Centre Georges Pompidou and Grande Halle La Villette, Paris, 1989) includes a giraffe emerging from a corner, facing a cross of pop-culture images. And “The Difference Between Fête and Fate” (“John Baldessari,” Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli, Italy, 1987) consists of striking photographs of people and animals, including polar bears, an owl, and a burning man. The eponymously titled exhibition continues in Midtown through August 23.

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