Item: Soft Ruler
Designer/Maker: Russell W. Baldwin – One of San Diego’s most important mid-century artists, Baldwin studied at San Diego State during the late 50s with Everett Gee Jackson, Jean Swiggett, John Dirks, Martha Longenecker and Ilse Ruocco. He explored many forms of expression; painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics and various constructed art forms and was a member of the San Diego Art Guild, the Allied Craftsmen and the Contemporary Arts Committee of the Fine Arts Society. Some of his first one-man exhibitions took place in La Jolla at the Jefferson Gallery in 1964 and the La Jolla Museum of Art in 1965. He wrote his master’s thesis on sand-casting for sculpture during this period, but quickly moved on to hard-edge constructions and polychrome mixed-media works that were exhibited in La Jolla and in his 1966 one-man exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 1966. He was one of San Diego’s pioneers of conceptual art, working alongside fellow artist-teachers Bob Matheny and John Baldessari, who taught at Southwestern College, while Baldwin was at Palomar College. He taught for many years in the art department there and established the Boehm Gallery while just beginning at Palomar.
Description: With “Soft Ruler,” Baldwin took his 1971 idea of having commercial yard sticks imprinted with his motto, Art Is All Over, in the manner of hardware-store advertising, even further. This 10 inch ruler, an unevenly stuffed envelope of wood grain laminate, was carefully embroidered with Baldwin’s ambiguous phrase in a characteristically wry example of Post Studio Art. From the estate of Russell Baldwin.
Dimensions: 10″ x 1 5/8″ x 3/4″
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