Situated in the heart of Soho, the Marian Goodman Gallery is everything an art gallery should aspire to be. With sister galleries in New York and Paris, it has an impeccable CV: among the artists they exhibit and represent are the painter Gerhard Richter, the video and filmmaker Steve McQueen, the Mexican aesthetic gamesman Gabriel Orozco, the provocateur Maurizio Cattelan, and the South African film animator and puppeteer William Kentridge.
Marian Goodman Gallery, Overview (2016) © Gallery website
The current exhibition, running until 25h February, is ‘John Baldessari: Mirò and Life in General’. Baldessari is an established artist, to whom Tate dedicated a retrospective in 2010. The key of his art and of this show is multimediality. The works displayed are large canvases featuring a Hollywood photograph in the top half and a detail from a Mirò work in the bottom half, enriched with pop-art colours and accompanied by a cryptic title. Every picture is entitled with an adjective (‘Relevant’, ‘Suitable’, ‘Right’), each a synonym of the other. Intriguingly, the original root word from which they all derive is not given.
John Baldessari, ‘Connected’ (2016)
Among the various media juxtaposed – fragments of Mirò, Hollywood shots, patches of colour, seemingly aleatory synonyms – what grabbed my attention were (unexpectedly) the captions given to each picture. I found myself pondering about how words and titles influence our aesthetic experience. I found connections of all kinds, from very visual ones (‘Connected’ had a very cohesive composition) to more philosophical (in ‘Intrinsic’, the face of a person was effaced with a spot of colour, arguably hiding the “intrinsic” part of that person). The all-white interiors undoubtedly foster this almost meditative process, and once again I had the proof that art is very much food for the mind and the soul as it is for the eyes.