It all began many years ago with an innocent interest in the way people like to anthropomorphize. Animals, objects, just about anything can be given human characteristics. Following his curiosity, John Baldessari was soon enough making his own pictures of objects with barely perceptible human features. Maybe they would be detected, maybe they wouldn't. It was akin to seeing the Virgin Mary in a tortilla. Next came a series of noses and ears gleefully placed on colorful, flat, somewhat lumpy and rounded shapes: faces. Much to Baldessari's surprise and his publisher's amusement, he recently looked again at these mustard and cobalt colored face shapes that populate his studio and came to a decisive conclusion: "Potato chips! Those faces are potato chips!" He handed over a stack of prints of chips with just visible full faces peering out, only to issue a kind-hearted warning: "These are really too perfect. Life isn't perfect. Potato chips break, pieces crack off. Think of the 'Venus de Milo,' and I think you'll know where I'm going with this book. And look, I have a title too...
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John Baldessari was born in National City, California in 1931, and lives and works in Santa Monica, California. His work has been exhibited in museums such as The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and in art galleries worldwide. He has also recently curated exhibitions at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington D.C., The Museum of Modern Art, New York and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. He is represented by Marian Goodman Gallery in New York.
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