A pot lid for the sky brings into dialogue the works of Vancouver artist Christopher Lacroix and pioneering American conceptualist John Baldessari, which embrace self-parody, irony, and absurdist humour to translate ideas into visual form. Playing across multiple mediums but rooted in photography, the artists engage repetitive tasks and hapless gestures, allowing trial—and often error—to yield unexpected delight. The exhibition features photographs, sculpture, printed matter, and video.
Prominent in the exhibition is Lacroix’s new work Erased Degree (2019), in which the artist ordered nearly two thousand pencils from LACMA’s gift store printed with Baldessari’s writing —“I will not make any more boring art”—and used their erasers to meticulously erase his own MFA diploma. The photographic blow-up of the parchment highlights his painstaking labour, calling to mind Baldessari’s scribbling out of that same phrase dozens of times in 1971. Through Erased Degree, Lacroix contemplates his condition as an early career artist, at once celebrating and rebuking the institutions, systems, and histories that have contextualized his work.
The exhibition draws on Lacroix’s camp sensibility of drama and effervescence, with his jewel-toned images of deflated foil balloons paired with Baldessari’s colourful interventions in celebrity selfies. Recurring throughout are excerpts from Baldessari’s Brown and Green and Other Parables (2001), a series of short, satirical texts that muse on what it is to be an artist.