For Immediate Release
Pleasant Journeys and Good Eats Along the Way: A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by John Baeder
Exhibition opens March 22 at the Gibbes Museum of Art
(Charleston, SC) Pleasant Journeys and Good Eats Along the Way: A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by John Baeder, the first major traveling exhibition solely devoted to the work of this important contemporary realist, opens to the public on Saturday, March 22, and remains on view through April 27, 2008 at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina.
Organized by the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, the exhibition includes forty paintings by the artist known as one of America’s preeminent realist painters. Baeder’s painstakingly rendered oils and watercolors, spanning the period 1974–2004, document the roadside eateries he reveres—diners, taco trucks, and barbecue dives. Baeder’s approach to these classically American subjects emphasizes the architectural details, color, and signage that capture the pulse of America in a bygone era .
“We are pleased to share this exhibition that celebrates an icon that is familiar to every American—the roadside diner,” says Todd D. Smith, Gibbes Museum of Art Executive Director.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully color-illustrated book, Pleasant Journeys and Good Eats Along the Way: The Paintings of John Baeder co-published by the Morris Museum of Art and the University Press of Mississippi.
One of America’s most-admired Photorealists, John Baeder was born in South Bend, Indiana, in 1938 and shortly afterward, moved with his family to Atlanta where he was raised. He attended Auburn University before embarking on a career in advertising in 1960. He pursued a successful career as an art director for ad agencies, in Atlanta and New York City until the early 1970s. During his years in New York, Baeder kept his technique sharp by drawing, painting, and taking photographs, while his day job as an art director kept him focused on American material culture. He also began to collect old postcards of roadside America whose images were grounded in early modern realist photography and early color lithography. They helped inspire him to make the transition from the world of advertising to the world of art.
In 1974, Ivan Karp began exhibiting Baeder’s paintings at his well-known SoHo gallery OK Harris Works of Art in New York. Since then Baeder’s work has been the subject of more than thirty solo exhibitions, and it has been included in more than 150 group shows. Baeder’s paintings can be found in the permanent collections of many noteworthy American museums, including those of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Norton Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the High Museum of Art, as well as corporate and private collections in Europe and the United States.
The author of three popular books—Diners (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1978 and 1995), Gas, Food, and Lodging (New York: Abbeville Press, 1986), and Sign Language: Street Signs as Folk Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996)—John Baeder continues to live and work in Nashville, Tennessee, his home since 1981.
GIBBES MUSEUM OF ART
Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905.
Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection and presents special exhibitions annually. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives.
As the aesthetic heart of the Lowcountry, the Gibbes serves the community by stimulating creative expression, increasing economic vitality through tourism, and improving the region’s superb quality of life.
135 Meeting Street * Charleston, SC * 29401