IAIN BAXTER&:
Works 1958–2011

IAIN BAXTER&, Television Works (detail), 1999–2006. Acrylic paint on reclaimed televisions, reclaimed pedestals, and reclaimed metal wall brackets; overall dimensions variable. Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, promised gift of Yvonne and David Fleck, Steven and Michael Latner Families, and Eleanor and Francis Shen. © 2011 IAIN BAXTER&. Photo © Art Gallery of Ontario.
N. E. Thing Co., Still Life with 6 Trucks, Highway 1, Saskatchewan, 1968. Kodachrome transparency and light box; 13 5/8 × 19 ¾ x 5 1/8 in. (34.7 × 50.2 × 13.1 cm). Collection the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, The University of British Columbia, gift of Iain Baxter and Ingrid Baxter, 1995. Photo: Michael Barrick, © Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.
Iain Baxter, Reflected Paris Beauty Spots (Tour Eiffel), 1980. 14 large-format Polaroid photographs; each: 30 ½ x 22 in. (77.5 × 55.9 cm). University of Lethbridge Art Collection, purchased 1985 with funds provided by the Alberta 1980s Endowment Fund. © 2011 IAIN BAXTER&. Photo: Jane Edmunson, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery.
N. E. Baxter Thing Co., Bagged Landscape with Water, 1966. Inflated vinyl and water with food coloring; 78 × 54 × 9 13/16 in. (198.1 × 137.2 × 25 cm). Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Malcolmson, 1985. Photo © Art Gallery of Ontario.
Iain Baxter, Landscape with One Tree and Three Clouds, 1965. Acrylic paint on vacuum-formed plastic; 32 × 37 ¾ x 2 5/8 in. (81.3 × 95.9 × 6.5 cm). Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of David P. Silcox and Linda Intaschi, 1990. © 2011 IAIN BAXTER&. Photo © Art Gallery of Ontario.
IAIN BAXTER&, LANDSCAPE WITH SAILBOATS (Digital Code Conversion Series), 2008. Acrylic paint on plywood; 47 ½ x 95 9/16 in. (120.7 × 242.8 cm). Collection of the artist. © 2011 IAIN BAXTER&. Photo © Art Gallery of Ontario.
N. E. Thing Co., Inflated Blue Sky, 1970. Inflated vinyl; 51 × 156 × 13 ¾ in. (129.5 × 396.2 × 35 cm). Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, purchase, 1970. Photo © Art Gallery of Ontario.
IT, Pneumatic Judd, 1965. Inflated vinyl; 40 × 84 × 8 in. (101.6 × 213.4 × 20.3 cm). Collection of the artist. Photo © Art Gallery of Ontario.
Iain Baxter, Still Life with Carrot, 1965. Acrylic paint on vacuum-formed plastic and toy vinyl carrot; 13 ¾ x 13 9/16 × 3 9/16 in. (35 × 34.5 × 9.1 cm). Collection of the artist. © 2011 IAIN BAXTER&. Photo © Art Gallery of Ontario.
Iain Baxter, Still Life with Six Colours, 1965. Acrylic paint on vacuum-formed plastic; 31 7/8 × 37 ½ x 1 ¾ in. (81 × 95.3 × 4.5 cm). Collection of the artist. © 2011 IAIN BAXTER&. Photo: © Art Gallery of Ontario.
Iain Baxter, Still Life with Winter Vista, 1996. Cibachrome transparency and light box; 48 × 61 × 7 7/8 in. (122 × 155 × 20 cm). Collection of the artist. © 2011 IAIN BAXTER&. Photo: © Art Gallery of Ontario.
N. E. Thing Co., Nude, 1968. Kodachrome transparency and light box; 13 5/8 × 19 ¾ x 5 3/8 in. (34.6 × 50.2 × 13.7 cm). Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Milrad, 1975. Photo: © Art Gallery of Ontario.
IAIN BAXTER&, Zero Emissions, 2008. Taxidermied animals, car exhaust pipes, and painted metal C-clamps; overall dimensions variable. Collection of the artist. © 2011 IAIN BAXTER&. Photo © Art Gallery of Ontario.

About

The contemporary art career of IAIN BAXTER& is long, distinguished, and multifaceted, yet relatively unknown in the United States. One plausible explanation for IAIN BAXTER&’s limited traction within the short-attention-span world of contemporary art is that he has never stayed with a single visual style for long and has always found ways of pushing into new territories, making any easy summation of his activities difficult. One in a long series of experiments with naming and artistic identity was his 1965 adoption of the corporate moniker N.E. Thing Co. (aka NETCO). NETCO was an actual corporation. With BAXTER& as President and his then-wife Ingrid Baxter (b. Elaine Hieber, 1938) as Vice President, NETCO adopted artistic mischief and upsetting expectations as its mission. Producing a diverse array of projects that encompassed conceptually based photography, pioneering works of appropriation art, and gallery-transforming installations, NETCO offered a new model of art-making, allowing the artists to remain anonymous and masquerade as business people.

Collapsing the boundaries between art, commerce, and everyday life, BAXTER&’s protean and peripatetic work has unfolded over five decades and proved difficult to locate within conventional critical or art historical narratives. A relentless emphasis on reaching out to the viewer, a core concern with ecology and the environment, and a belief that art must assume plural means and media inform BAXTER&’s early credo that “art is all over.” This exhibition appraises the remarkable achievement of this artist and positions his contribution in relation to mainstream histories of conceptual art, photography, and installation art.

Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario

Installation Images

Installation view, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011, MCA Chicago, Nov 5, 2011–Jan 15, 2012. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011, MCA Chicago, Nov 5, 2011–Jan 15, 2012. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011, MCA Chicago, Nov 5, 2011–Jan 15, 2012. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011, MCA Chicago, Nov 5, 2011–Jan 15, 2012. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011, MCA Chicago, Nov 5, 2011–Jan 15, 2012. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011, MCA Chicago, Nov 5, 2011–Jan 15, 2012. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011, MCA Chicago, Nov 5, 2011–Jan 15, 2012. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

Funding

Official Airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art