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R.C. Baker
". . . and Nixon's coming" the draft,

Apr 02, 2009-May 30, 2009

Press Release | Works | Reviews

Opening reception: Thursday 6-8pm April 2, 2009

Artist's talk: Saturday 1pm April 18, 2009 


ZONE: CONTEMPORARY ART is pleased to present . . . and Nixon뭩 coming | the draft,
R.C. Baker's first solo exhibition with the gallery.


. . . and Nixon뭩 coming combines art, fiction, and design to create a multifaceted narrative that arcs from the Moscow show trials of 1937 to President Nixon뭩 resignation, in 1974. Divided into four sections, the work views the turbulent artistic and social ferment of the mid-20th century through the experiences of the story뭩 main character, Kirby Holland, and through his artwork, including academic drawings and studies after the old masters, comic-book illustrations, and amalgams of Abstract Expressionism, Pop, and graphics. Whether figurative or abstract, none of the art functions as illustration; rather, the images create a parallel track to the text. Kirby progresses from earnest art student to member of an army unit charged with repatriating Nazi loot to comic-book illustrator caught up in McCarthy-era witch hunts to determined and eclectic painter at a time뾲he 1970s뾵hen painting was viewed by many as irrelevant, if not completely dead.


The book . . . and Nixon뭩 coming is a work in progress, created with varying fonts, layouts, and graphics뾞 literary/historical/graphic-novel/art-catalogue hybrid. The images for Part i, 밫he Fractured Century, set in the years 193747, include still lifes, figure drawings, and early abstractions. Part ii (밪mashin Pumpkins, 195255) features black-and-white action paintings, comic-book pages, and large-scale collisions of the two. Layered abstractions and reconceptualized Pop portraits appear in Part iii, 밒ncoming (196468); dense collages and painterly graphics characterize Part iv, 밯hat? My Lai? (197274). All of the paintings, drawings, and prints were actually created between 1979 and 2009, with additional work planned as the book progresses. 


On Saturday, April 18, at 1 pm, Mr. Baker will read from ... and Nixon뭩 coming and discuss the work in the exhibition as well as the relationship between criticism and fiction.


R.C. Baker뭩 articles and essays have appeared in The Village Voice, Performing Arts Journal, The New York Times, and other publications, and his paintings, drawings, and artist뭩 books have been exhibited at numerous venues in New York City, including the Drawing Center, White Columns, and the Center for Book Arts. Mr. Baker is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Painting Fellowship and has taken part in numerous panels discussing subjects ranging from 밫he Future of the Graphic Novel to last year뭩 Whitney Biennial. He most recently appeared as a talking head for the Ovation channel뭩 documentary Jeff Koons: Beyond Heaven. 

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