Mike Bidlo is best known for his accurate replications of masterworks by important twentieth century artists, including Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, Yves Klein, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Man Ray and Andy Warhol. Bidlo’s earliest pieces were partially performances, such as “Jack the Dripper at Peg’s Place” (1982) for which he painted replicas of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings and re-enacted Pollock’s infamous act of urinating into Peggy Guggenheim’s fireplace (which Bidlo finds relevant to Pollock’s painting technique and is related to Bidlo’s later recreations of Warhol’s urine splashed “Oxidation” paintings).
In “Not Baldessari (I will not make any more boring art, 1971),” Bidlo pays homage to one of the biggest appropriation artists of the post-war era, the late John Baldessari (1931-2020). Bidlo has appropriated Baldessari’s first and most iconic print edition, a project that was originally realized by Baldessari at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design’s famed lithography workshop in 1971.
Bidlo is a staunch aficionado of twentieth-century modern art and his recreations of masterpieces are done with a sense of appreciation and devotion, and as an exploration into the concepts of originality and creativity. He is a member of the generation of artists, including Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman and Haim Steinbach, who emerged in the 1980s and practiced appropriating subjects and images from popular culture and art history into their own art. Bidlo describes his artistic activity: “My work is perhaps an extreme example of this strain of art which references other art because it directly mirrors the image, scale, and materials of the original. Whatever differences appear in my work are a consequence of my working method and not an attempt at projecting a personal style.”
Mike Bidlo was born in Chicago in 1953, and studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago (BA, 1973); Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (MFA, 1975); and Columbia University, New York (MA, 1978). Bidlo lives and works in New York City. His work has been exhibited at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; New Museum, New York; PS 1/MoMA, Queens, NY; Sezon Museum, Tokyo; Saatchi Collection, London; and Fondation Cartier, Paris.