Painting for Kubler  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Painting for Kubler (1967–68) is a work by John Baldessari consisting of painted black text on a white canvas.

The text reads:

“This painting owes its existence to prior paintings. By liking this solution, you should not be blocked in your continued acceptance of prior inventions. To attain this position, ideas of former painting had to be rethought in order to transcend former work. To like this painting, you will have to understand prior work. Ultimately this work will amalgamate with the existing body of knowledge.”

It presents the viewer theoretical instructions on how to view it and on the importance of context and continuity with previous works.

The work referenced art historian George Kubler's seminal book The Shape of Time.

Most probably from this passage:

In our terms each invention is a new serial position. The acceptance of an invention by many people blocks their continuing acceptance of the preceding position. These blocks prevail only among closely related solutions in sequence, and they do not arise outside their own field of relevance, as we know from the coexistence at any instant of great numbers of active and simultaneous series (pp. 112 ff.). The products of prior positions become obsolete or unfashionable. Yet prior positions are part of the invention, because to attain the new position the inventor must reassemble its components by an intuitive insight transcending the preceding positions in the sequence. Of its users or beneficiaries the new position also demands some familiarity with prior positions in order that they may discover the working range of the invention. The technique of invention thus has two distinct phases: the discovery of new positions followed by their amalgamation with the existing body of knowledge.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Painting for Kubler" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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