David Baskin is an American artist. His work mines art history, politics and consumer culture. Whether negotiating the blurred boundaries between an art object and a consumer product or using historical models to address contemporary issues, his sculpture explores the underlying cultural agendas inherent in the “formal” properties of everyday objects.
Vaguely resembling ordinary and ubiquitous products like cars, vacuum cleaners, plumbing pipes and cosmetic bottles, David begins with the commercial objects themselves, making molds and casts directly from their forms, or disassembling and reconfiguring them to highlight their not so subtle appeals to our unconscious desires.
"This is a strange time indeed. People are sick and people are dying. Here in America many are also worried about the health of our Republic. It too is sick and many fear for its survival. A bit hyperbolic? Perhaps, but as I am writing this, quarantined due to a stay at home order, I am witnessing the failure of our government to provide basic medical supplies to our healthcare workers and to deliver basic truthful information to the public. This virus has exposed the extreme inequities in our society and the failure of a democratically elected government to perform some of its fundamental responsibilities. But our political and economic system hasn’t been well for some time now, hemorrhaging money to the few while leaving the majority behind. It has relied on a neoliberal ideology as the panacea that will cure all. But the illness persists and has, in fact, become worse. The very institutions that are essential to keep our body politic healthy have been weakened. And without emergency treatment, we may soon find our Democracy on life support. My recent body of work was made with our current political climate in mind, and my hope is that it can be seen in a larger historical context. One that addresses the deeper structural changes that have occurred to our political and economic system."
David Baskin New York, USA. April 12, 2020
The Founding Fathers Project is a series of layered prints. One presidential portrait was printed directly on top of the other until the images become distorted and the paper becomes saturated with ink.
A mold was made from a replica of Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1785 portrait of George Washington. The bust was reconfigured and cast in bronze. The flat planes on the sculptures were finished in a mirror polish.