Kunstsammlung NRW

Travel Broadens! When John Baldessari meets George Grosz...

A visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) offers Anette Kruszynski and unexpected encounter with a work from the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Hanging in the permanent collection in LA is a picture by the American artist John Baldessari.

Apparently, this grand master of Conceptualism (born in 1931) once visited the museum in Düsseldorf – possibly upon receiving the Goslar Kaiserring in 2012. Not everyone would have expected him to have been captivated by a George Grosz painting dating from 1920.

The work’s anonymous architecture, displayed in conjunction with a tailor’s dummy, is untypical within Grosz’s oeuvre, known instead for sharply biting social satire aimed at the Weimar Republic. Double Bill (Part 2): ... and Grosz is the title chosen by Baldessari for this visual allusion, which features Grosz’s mannequin in an unfamiliar and animated pose.

In the writhing snake, my colleague Stephanie Barron believes she has identified a reference to the surrealistic world of Max Ernst. Currently, it is possible to weigh her perceptions in front of the originals by Max Ernst and George Grosz in the air-conditioned galleries of the K20 – and perhaps to project your insights into a Baldessarian future.

For more on the collection of the LACMA at the online databank: