Collection 1980s–Present

Jo Baer. Memorial for an Art World Body (Nevermore). 2009 288

Oil on unstretched canvas, 72 x 60 1/4" (182.9 x 153 cm). Gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis in honor of Kenneth C. Griffin’s 50th birthday. © Jo Baer. Used by permission.

Artist, Jo Baer: My name is Jo Baer and I've made a painting titled Memorial for an Art World Body (Nevermore).

I assemble things that I think might be interesting. I can take the images, but I have to make them work in a different way, in my own way.

So this is really a way of making a self-portrait, where I've taken the images of me back from husbands. They're the people who knew me well. I've taken another point of view of me. It's a lifetime as opposed to a story.

The stars, the background, the sky. It's the sky on the night I was born. And I put the six little profiles into a cradle. And I'm standing around stark naked looking gorgeous, also in a bikini. (laughs) I liked being a Venus, a Greek goddess. And I felt quite pleased to place myself into the Botticelli clamshell.

Down at the bottom is the box, which is a real coffin, waiting to be buried with the ravens sitting around. There's the cradle, there's a grave. There's all the stuff in between, all at once.

The very tall larch tree that has a raven in it, the whole right-hand side. I'm fond of it, because when I lived in Ireland, in my castle, nearby was such a tree, and it had a raven in it that kept visiting me and pecking at the window frames and making me think I'd have to answer the door all the time. You know, ‘Quoth The Raven “Nevermore” Who's That Knocking at my Door?’ from the Edgar Allan Poe thing, yeah?