Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Tate Modern 13 October 2009 – 10 January 2010

Opening on the eve of his eagerly anticipated retrospective at Tate Modern, Ear Sofa; Nose Sconces with Flowers (In Stage Setting) is the first ever tableau vivant created by acclaimed American artist John Baldessari, a living installation which epitomises the wry wit, visual ingenuity and conceptual vigour which has defined the artist's practice for almost five decades.

The installation centres on an ear-shaped sofa, on which a model sits, posed and poised, flanked on either side by a pair of nose-shaped, wall-mounted sconces. The sofa is framed by a large decorative semi-circular arch, and the gallery's glass frontage is shrouded by a sheet of sheer stretched silk. The palette, proportions, and geometrical forms deployed in the construction of the tableau are redolent of an Art Deco aesthetic, which further contributes to a sense of grand theatricality. The allusion to (or illusion of) Hollywood's Art Deco glamour in the exhibition's design has been developed by Baldessari in collaboration with acclaimed American production designer Naomi Shohan, whose credits include her BAFTA-nominated work on American Beauty (1999), Training Day (2001), I Am Legend (2007) and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010).

The retrospective exhibition John Baldessari: Pure Beauty is concurrently on show at Tate Modern, and will then tour a number of museums internationally:

Tate Modern, London: 13 October 2009 10 January 2010
Museu d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona: 11 February 2010 25 April 2010
LACMA, Los Angeles: 27 June 2010 12 September 2010
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC: 17 October 2010 9 January 2011

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