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b. 1956, USA

Donald Baechler Biography

Donald Baechler made his name in New York in the 1980s showing his work at the legendary Tony Shafrazi Gallery with a group of artists that included Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat. He is known predominantly for his intensely reworked graphical work and paintings which return frequently to a group of motifs and characters: ice-cream cones, thumbs-up, Disney-esque fawns, as well as more clichéd images from art history-flowers, skulls and globes. Executed in the ancient medium of Gesso, flashe paint on canvas or paper collage, Baechlers' are multi-layered works which speak volumes about the painterly process itself.

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Baechler has often referred to himself as collector, of imagery and references-biographical, art historical, visual ephemera-forming a rich archive in his work over the years. His influences are wide-ranging from Giotto to the abstract expressionists to American folk art and Cy Twombly.

While some of his iconography is recognisably from the world of childhood, and could be said to have a deceptive simplicity, his work, and in particular his approach to his work, is infinitely more complex. The blank surface is the beginning of a journey for Baechler, one that he himself is unsure of-an uncertainty he revels in. As he has said 'One reason I build my surfaces up is because I don't really want to know what the line is going to do. I want this built-in fracture; when I drag the brush along the canvas, I don't want it to be a smooth, easy voyage-I want some problems along the way.' It is these obstacles, and the process of overcoming and reworking them, that provide his work with a palpable surface tension. The often apparent purity of his subject matter is in a sense a misnomer.

Baechler has described himself as a formalist-putting line and form above narrative meaning. But his work has an artistic language of its own, a visual syntax that merits close study. The viewer is invited to excavate each work, layer by layer-a richly rewarding experience.

Baechlers' work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art,New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Centre George Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris among many other notable institutions worldwide.

Text courtesy Reflex Amsterdam.

Donald Baechler Featured Artworks

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Western Expansion by Donald Baechler contemporary artwork
Donald BaechlerWestern Expansion, 1996Acrylic and collage on canvas
282 x 366 cm
Cardi Gallery Contact Gallery
CROWD PAINTING #1-06 by Donald Baechler contemporary artwork
Donald BaechlerCROWD PAINTING #1-06, 2006Acrylic and fabric collage on canvas
152.4 x 121.9 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
PAWN OF TALISMAN by Donald Baechler contemporary artwork
Donald BaechlerPAWN OF TALISMAN, 2019Acrylic and fabric collage on canvas
101.6 x 101.6 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
UNTITLED (FLOWER SCULPTURE FOUR) by Donald Baechler contemporary artwork
Donald BaechlerUNTITLED (FLOWER SCULPTURE FOUR), 2017Bronze, black/ brown patina
68.6 x 45.7 x 17.8 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
THE PERILS OF IMPRECISION #10 by Donald Baechler contemporary artwork
Donald BaechlerTHE PERILS OF IMPRECISION #10, 2005Gouache, vinyl paint, dry pigment and collage on hand made paper
101.6 x 100.3 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
Universe of Use by Donald Baechler contemporary artwork
Donald BaechlerUniverse of Use, 2016Gesso, Flash and paper collage on paper
132.1 x 101.6 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
The Slab and the Song by Donald Baechler contemporary artwork
Donald BaechlerThe Slab and the Song, 2015Gesso, Flashe and paper collage on paper
116.8 x 91.4 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Userfill in Theory by Donald Baechler contemporary artwork
Donald BaechlerUserfill in Theory, 2003Mixed media on canvas
24.02 x 24.02 inches
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery

Donald Baechler Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, In Times of Plenty: The Shape of Things Today at Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Closed
7 July–4 September 2018 Group Exhibition In Times of Plenty: The Shape of Things Today Reflex AmsterdamAmsterdam
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, New Beginnings at Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Closed
6 January–17 February 2018 Group Exhibition New Beginnings Reflex AmsterdamAmsterdam
Contemporary art exhibition, Donald Baechler, Solo Exhibition at Cheim & Read, New York
Closed
2 November–23 December 2017 Donald Baechler Solo Exhibition Cheim & Read, New York547 W 25th St, New York

Donald Baechler Represented By

Cheim & Read contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Cheim & Read New York
Reflex Amsterdam contemporary art gallery in Amsterdam, Netherlands Reflex Amsterdam Amsterdam

Donald Baechler In Related Press

Built-in fracture: Donald Baechler in the 1980s Related Press Built-in fracture: Donald Baechler in the 1980s 19 December 2015, Hyperallgeric

In the thoroughly absorbing exhibition Donald Baechler: Early Work 1980 to 1984 at Cheim & Read, there are two works, both from 1982, in which the artist appears to be unlearning how to draw. The shapes are raw, awkward and deliberately artless. In Standing Nude (after Shelby Creagh), the model’s head is truncated by a brushy...

Fade out copy.
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