Collecting new paintings and writings by Amsterdam-based American painter Jo Baer (born 1929), Up Close in the Land of the Giants was created as a deliberate sibling to Baer’s 2013 exhibition catalog In the Land of the Giants, which was published on the occasion of the artist’s eponymously titled dual exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Ludwig Museum Cologne.
This new volume echoes the 2013 book in layout and design but offers readers a deeper look into the artist’s own thinking on her paintings and the reasons behind the sources she has chosen to reference in her compositions. The catalog is wide-ranging in its subject matter and is organized in sections that move between analysis of specific series of paintings to chapters that delve into bodies of research from fields as diverse as anthropology and archaeology to astronomy and geography, all of which have informed Baer’s work.
Jo Baer (born 1929) was a key figure among the pioneers of Minimalist painting in New York in the 1960s and early 1970s, regularly exhibiting alongside Andre, Judd, LeWitt, Flavin, Morris and Martin. During this period, she executed her iconic series of variously sized squares and vertical and horizontal rectangles, sometimes colorful and sometimes white with black borders, which she later expanded into diptych and triptych arrangements. In 1975, Baer turned away from minimalist painting and towards a more figurative language, also incorporating words. This catalogue looks at this shift, exploring the connections and disjunctions between the two groups of work. Baer’s largely unknown drawings are introduced for the first time and placed in relation to her earlier and later paintings. Baer is presented as a highly independent artist, whose career has defied conventional linearity. This publication is the first comprehensive monograph devoted to her work.