LAMA BLOG

LA Icons: John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha

February 28, 2015

LAMA is pleased to present key lots by two of Los Angeles’s leading contemporary conceptual artists: John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha. Baldessari hails from National City, California; a town located just south of San Diego. He did post-graduate work at Otis Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute, and later taught at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia from 1970–1988, and the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1996–2007. Early on, he became a central figure in the growth of Los Angeles as a major art center. His work has been featured in over 100 solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Among numerous awards, achievements, and honorary degrees, he received a Golden Lion award at the 53rd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition in 2009. Ruscha moved to Los Angeles from Oklahoma City in 1956 to study graphic design at Chouinard Art Institute. He rose to prominence as an LA artist during the late 1950s, and was one of the “Cool School” associated with the Ferus Gallery. He has had significant exhibitions across the world and his work is in major national and international museum collections, many in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2005 Ruscha represented the U.S. at the 51st Venice Biennale, and in 2009 he received a National Arts Award. Below are highlights of each artist’s lots on offer in the March 1 auction.

 

John Baldessari

Lot 59
National City Portfolio
Baldessari revisited his hometown of National City between 1996–2009,  to take these snapshots of routes familiar to the artist. This portfolio is a complete suite of eight photographs. Baldessari’s trademark hand-painted acrylic circles–each in a varied grayscale tone–embellish the prints, obscuring specifics and details.

Lot 59, John Baldessari, National City Portfolio, 1996

Lot 59, John Baldessari, National City Portfolio, 1996
March 1, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

Lot 60
Two Boats (from Hegel’s Cellar Portfolio)
By placing dots of primary and secondary colors over faces in stock imagery, John Baldessari renders potential subjects anonymous thus allowing the viewer to focus on other components of the composition. Baldessari alludes to Hegel’s theory of a “psychic abyss” in the series Hegel’s Cellar. Here he explores the tension between the individual and the mass; the notion of “group think.”

Lot 60, John Baldessari, Two Boats (from Hegel's Cellar Portfolio), 1986

Lot 60, John Baldessari, Two Boats (from Hegel’s Cellar Portfolio), 1986
March 1, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

Ed Ruscha

Lot 1
City
Ed Ruscha defies categorization with his diverse output of photographic books and tongue-in-cheek photo-collages, paintings, and drawings, having had an initial interest in commercial art. Based in Los Angeles, his work often reflects the city’s vernacular and culture. He is also inspired by the region’s ironies and idiosyncrasies, which he frequently conveys with glib words and phrases, colloquial and consumerist in nature.

Lot 1, Ed Ruscha, City, 1969

Lot 1, Ed Ruscha, City, 1969
March 1, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 10
Cockroaches (from Insects Portfolio)
Insects as a subject evoke both Dadaist and Surrealistic tendencies, and the physical environment of the artist’s studio. Why insects? “Because I have a jillion cockroaches around my studio. I love them, but I don’t want them around.”

Lot 10, Ed Ruscha, Cockroaches (from Insects Portfolio), 1972

Lot 10, Ed Ruscha, Cockroaches (from Insects Portfolio), 1972
March 1, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 11
Pearl Dust Combination (from Insects Portfolio)
Insects lived in the artist’s studio, among his work. Though no real flies were used–his insects are trompe l’oeil–pearl dust was added to this screenprint, adding an unexpectedly lustrous sheen.

Lot 11, Ed Ruscha, Pearl Dust Combination (from Insects Portfolio), 1972

Lot 11, Ed Ruscha, Pearl Dust Combination (from Insects Portfolio), 1972
March 1, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

Lot Information:

Lot 59
John Baldessari
National City Portfolio
1996
Eight color photographs hand-painted with acrylic and mounted to 4-ply rag board on 1/8″ Sintra
#6 of 12
Published by Patrick Painter Editions, Inc., Los Angeles; printed by JAB Art Enterprises, Inc., Santa Monica
Each signed in black marker on Patrick Painter Editions label with printed edition number verso
Images each: 18″ x 18″; Sheets each: 19.125″ x 18.75″
Literature: Coplan Hurowitz, Sharon. John Baldessari: A Catalogue Raisonné of Prints and Multiples, 1971-2007. Manchester: Hudson Hills Press, 2009. #81-88.; Congdon, Daniel. Patrick Painter Editions: 1991-2005. Hong Kong: Patrick Painter Editions, 2006. 231-239.
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000

Lot 60
John Baldessari
Two Boats (from Hegel’s Cellar Portfolio)
1986
Photogravure and aquatint on torn Rives BFK paper
#3 of 35
Published by Multiples, Inc., New York; printed by Iris Editions, New York
Signed in pencil with edition verso
Image: 19″ x 25.875″; Sheet: 19″ x 26.25″; Frame: 27.25″ x 34″
Literature: Coplan Hurowitz, Sharon. John Baldessari: A Catalogue Raisonné of Prints and Multiples, 1971-2007. Manchester: Hudson Hills Press, 2009. #24.
Estimate: $4,000 – $6,000

Lot 1
Ed Ruscha
City
1969
2-color lithograph on calendered Rives BFK paper
#7 of 20
Published and printed by Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Los Angeles
Signed and dated in pencil “E. Ruscha 1969” lower right sheet; edition lower left; Tamarind Lithography Workshop watermark verso; inscribed in pencil “8536,” and “G3056″ verso
Image/sheet: 17″ x 24”
Literature: Engberg, Siri, and Clive Phillpot. Edward Ruscha: Editions, 1959-1999: Catalogue Raisonné. 1st ed. Vol II. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1999. #19.
Estimate: $8,000 – $12,000

Lot 10
Ed RuschaCockroaches (from Insects Portfolio)
1972
4-color screenprint on paper-backed wood veneer
#20 of 100
Published by Multiples, Inc., New York; printed by Styria Studio, New York
Signed and dated with edition in pencil lower left sheet; printed artist’s and publisher’s copyright stamp verso
Image/sheet: 20.125″ x 27″
Literature: Engberg, Siri, and Clive Phillpot. Edward Ruscha: Editions, 1959-1999: Catalogue Raisonné. 1st ed. Vol II. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1999. #64.
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000

Lot 11
Ed Ruscha
Pearl Dust Combination (from Insects Portfolio)
1972
9-color screenprint with pearl dust on Fabriano Classico glazed-finish watercolor paper
#20 of 100
Published by Multiples, Inc., New York; printed by Styria Studio, New York
Signed and dated in pencil lower right sheet; edition lower left; printed artist’s and publisher’s copyright stamp verso
Image/sheet: 20.125″ x 27″
Literature: Engberg, Siri, and Clive Phillpot. Edward Ruscha: Editions, 1959-1999: Catalogue Raisonné. 1st ed. Vol II. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1999. #65.
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000

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