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John Baldessari
The First $100,000 I Ever Made

December 2 – 30, 2011
Next to the High Line at West 18th Street and 10th Avenue

John Baldessari is one of the seminal figures in the conceptual art movement. Since the 1960s, Baldessari has greatly influenced generations of artists with works that explore the connections among representation, language, and popular culture. With his distinct deadpan approach, the artist has created a new, thought-provoking roadside attraction for 10th Avenue with a gigantic representation of a $100,000 bill.

The $100,000 bill plays a special role in the history of currency in the United States. For a three-week period spanning 1934 and 1935, in the throes of the Great Depression, the United States government printed 42,000 of these bills and released them as gold certificates to Federal Reserve Banks that had equal amounts of gold in the Treasury. The bills were never circulated among the general public, and in the 1960s, the government recalled the bills following advances in wire transfer technology. Most of the bills were destroyed, but some relics remain at branches of the Federal Reserve and the Smithsonian Museum. The $100,000 bill holds the record as the highest denomination currency ever issued by the United States and carries an image of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States.

(1-3) Photo by Austin Kennedy. (4-5) Photo by Bill Orcutt.

John Baldessari

John Baldessari (b. 1931, California) lives and works in Santa Monica, California. In addition to his artistic production, Baldessari is renowned for his progressive teachings on conceptual art at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia from 1970 – 1988 and the University of California at Los Angeles from 1996 – 2007. Baldessari’s artwork has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions and in over 1,000 group exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. His projects include artist books, videos, films, billboards, and public works. His awards and honors include memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, the BACA International 2008, and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, awarded by the Venice Biennale in 2009. He has received honorary degrees from the National University of Ireland, San Diego State University, Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, and California College of the Arts. Recent projects include exhibitions in New York, Europe, and Los Angeles, including the Marian Goodman Gallery, New York (2013); Mönchehaus Museum Goslar, Goslar, Germany (2012); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011); the Manchester International Festival, Manchester, England (2011); an exhibition with the Fondazione Prada in Milan (2010); and the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany (2009). In 2009, his retrospective exhibition John Baldessari: Pure Beauty opened at the Tate Modern, London, travelling to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 2010.

Support

High Line Art is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. High Line Art is supported by Vital Projects Fund, Inc., and, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. In-kind sponsorship for High Line Billboard is provided by Edison Properties.

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