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David Bates

Baits
1990
oil on canvas
213.4 x 162.6 cm (84 x 64 in.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase.


The left margin of this painting by David Bates displays part of a sign that reads "Baits." The sign functions both visually, as a two-dimensional design helping to frame this iconic image of a bait seller, and verbally as information about the subject matter and a play on the artist's last name. With the inclusion of this text, the artist asserts his intimate connection with the content of his work.