Not Baldessari (I will not make any more boring art, 1971)
Lithograph printed in black, a fine, fresh impression, the full sheet, printed on ivory Arches paper, nearly to the edges, with deckled edges, signed with the initials, dated and numbered in pencil by the artist, executed in an edition of 50 (there were also 10 numbered Artist’s Proofs, 2 numbered HC proofs, 2 numbered Printer’s Proofs, 1 RBPMW proof and 1 BAT proof), printed by John Andrews at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, New York, published by World House Editions, Middlebury, Connecticut, in very fine condition, unframed.
A member of a generation of late 70s and early 80s artists, including Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine, John Armleder, Louise Lawler, Barbara Kruger and others who practiced appropriating images from popular culture and art history, Mike Bidlo is best known for his incredibly accurate reproductions of works in various mediums by important twentieth century artists, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Constantin Brancusi, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Leger, Giorgio Morandi, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Georgia O’Keefe, Giorgio De Chirico, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and others, to even his peers like Julian Schnabel.
Bidlo, who considers himself a Conceptualist, is a devout student and connoisseur of twentieth-century art and his recreations are done with a sense of appreciation and devotion, as well as an exploration into the concepts of originality and creativity, author and authorship. The artist has said of his process “My work is perhaps an extreme example of this strain of art which references other art because it directly mirrors the image, scale, and materials of the original. Whatever differences appear in my work are a consequence of my working method and not an attempt at projecting a personal style.”
In the present work, Bidlo pays homage to one of the biggest appropriation artists of the post-war era, the late John Baldessari (1931-2020). Bidlo has appropriated Baldessari’s first ever print edition, a project that was originally realized by Baldessari at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design’s lithography workshop in 1971.