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Minor Canon

John Baldessari Pure Beauty hat

Regular price $23.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $23.00 USD
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John Baldessari (1931 – 2020) was an American conceptual artist known for his work featuring found photography and appropriated images. He lived and worked in Santa Monica and Venice, California. Initially a painter, Baldessari began to incorporate texts and photography into his canvases in the mid-1960s. In 1970 he began working in printmaking, film, video, installation, sculpture and photography. He created thousands of works which demonstrate—and, in many cases, combine—the narrative potential of images and the associative power of language within the boundaries of the work of art.

In the 60s, Baldessari began to produce text paintings (building on Pop-inflected work by artists like Ed Ruscha). At the time, he remarked, “a word can’t substitute for an image but is equal to it.” With sly humour, these works aim to be as “disarming as possible.” Instructions from art manuals and quotes from celebrated art critics painted onto the surface of his canvases drew attention to the prevailing aesthetic attitudes of the period. It’s hard not to chuckle at paintings like Tips for Artists Who want to Sell and the deliciously tongue in cheek canvas that simply says: "Everything is purged from this painting but art, no ideas have entered this work."

This hat reproduces Pure Beauty (1966-68), one of Baldessari's more elusive and beguiling text paintings. The deadpan phrase, in black letters on a beige background, clearly doesn't offer "pure beauty" as an image—like Magritte's "ceci n'est pas une pipe," it is wryly self-negating. Instead of showing "pure beauty," it asks the viewer to imagine it as a concept. Beauty, in this work, is in the mind of the beholder. Wear this hat for a chance to be beheld like never before. 

• 100% organic cotton
• Fabric weight: 8 oz/yd² (271 g/m²)
• 3/1 twill
• Unstructured
• 6 panel
• Matching sewn eyelets
• Self-fabric adjustable closure with a brass slider and hidden tuck-in
• Blank product sourced from China