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The Fallen Easel

A work made of photolithographs (9).

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  • A work made of photolithographs (9).




John Baldessari
American, 1931–2020

About this artwork

An influential pioneer of Conceptual Art, John Baldessari began appropriating film stills, advertisements, and found photographs in the 1980s to examine the social impact of mass culture. Using photographic excerpts in unorthodox arrangements, he highlights dissonance and gaps in meaning to undermine expectations for how images function. The Fallen Easel employs a framed, multipart composition to suggest its own physical instability and thereby underscore the “fall” of easel painting from the apex of fine art to a grammar of simple color combinations. The colored dots, placed to obscure identities or expressions, additionally frustrate conventional markers of meaning in photographs.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


John Baldessari


The Fallen Easel


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1988


Photolithographs (9)


20 of 35


53 × 63.4 cm; 52 × 43.5 cm; 35 × 170 cm; 142 × 43 cm; other various dimensions

Credit Line

Gift of David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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