Installation View: Schalter Gallery, Berlin, Germany | Exhibition: Maurice Doherty – D E S T R O Y MODERN ART (2009)
The Pencil Story (II)
Format: Photographs and pencil on board
Dimensions: 70 cm x 60 cm
The Pencil Story – refers to John Baldessari’s ‘Pencil Story’ (1972-3), in which he juxtaposes two shots of a pencil—the first dull, the second sharp. Beneath the pair, a caption reads: “I had this old pencil on the dashboard of my car for a long time. Every time I saw it, I felt uncomfortable, since its point was so dull and dirty. I always intended to sharpen it and finally couldn’t bear it any longer and did sharpen it. I’m not sure, but I think this has something to do with art.” In this work by Doherty, the gesture is re-interpreted and a shot of a new sharpened pencil is juxtaposed with a second shot of the pencil being smashed to bits.
Referring to his artwork ‘The Pencil Story’ (1972/73), Baldessari said, “People ask me what my favourite piece of art is and it’s this one. Because I thought I got it exactly right. If I could do all my work like that, I’d be very happy, that’s a benchmark for me.”
John Baldessari – This Not That” Documentary, 2010