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New Documentary Captures One of America's Preeminent Photorealist Painters, John Baeder, and His Work

AUGUSTA, GA.- Baeder: Pleasant Journeys and Good Eats along the Way is a new film that documents the work, life, and personality of one of the most important photorealist painters working today, John Baeder.

“For more than thirty-five years, John’s passionate interest in diners has led him to become the preeminent chronicler of a uniquely American form of roadside architecture,” states Kevin Grogan, Director of the Morris Museum of Art and one of the executive producers of the film. “Critics have commented on his technical virtuosity, but he is a virtuoso with a purpose—creating a record of the architecture that surrounds the homely dining experience. This role as an historic preservationist sets him apart from his peers and identifies him as unique among contemporary realists.”

Produced by Film House, this DVD includes the twenty-nine minute film Pleasant Journeys and Good Eats along the Way that was created in association with the Morris Museum of Art exhibit of the same name. The film includes interviews with, among others, former NEA chairman Bill Ivey; prominent collectors Alice Zimmerman, Howard Stringer, Trey Lipmann, and Jewel and Barry Coburn; art historian Robert Mode; artist Marilyn Murphy, photographer Jim McGuire, museum directors Lois Riggins-Ezzell and Kevin Grogan; and singer/songwriters Pat Alger, Kent Blazy, Fred Koller, Dave Pomeroy, and Guy Clark. Also included with the DVD is a photo portfolio of 275 images tracing all the stages of Baeder’s work, from his earliest “postcard paintings” to his most recent roadside images, as well as several photos of the artist.

The film will be screened at the Tennessee State Museum in conjunction with its presentation of the retrospective exhibition of John Baeder’s works through February 15, 2009. The DVD, as well as the book Pleasant Journeys and Good Eats along the Way: The Paintings of John Baeder, are available at the Morris Museum of Art store (, the Tennessee State Museum Store, and To view clips from the film, visit

Artist Biography - One of America’s most-admired realist painters, John Baeder was born on December 24, 1938, in South Bend, Indiana, and shortly afterward, moved with his family to Atlanta where he was raised. He attended Auburn University before embarking on a career in advertising in 1960. He pursued a very successful career as an art director for ad agencies, in Atlanta and New York City and left the ad agency, McCann-Erickson, in April 1972 to embark on his new career as a painter.

During his years in New York, Baeder kept his technique sharp by drawing, painting, and taking photographs, while his day job as an art director kept him focused on American material culture. He also began to collect old postcards of roadside America whose images were grounded by the early anonymous street photographer and early color lithography. They helped to inspire him to make the transition from the world of advertising to the world of art.

In September 1972, Ivan Karp of the well known SoHo gallery in New York, OK Harris, began exhibiting Baeder’s paintings. Since then Baeder’s work has been the subject of more than thirty solo exhibitions, and it has been included in more than 150 group shows. Baeder’s paintings can be found in the permanent collections of many noteworthy American museums, including those of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Norton Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Newark Museum, the High Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Morris Museum of Art, to cite just a few, as well as corporate and private collections in Europe and the United States too numerous to mention.

The author of three popular books—Diners (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1978; Diners revised and updated, 1995), Gas, Food, and Lodging (New York: Abbeville Press, 1982, hardcover; 1986, softcover), and Sign Language: Street Signs as Folk Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996)—John Baeder continues to live and work in Nashville, Tennessee, his home since 1980.

Film House - Film House ( is Tennessee’s largest production company producing hundreds of TV commercials and documentaries annually. Transcendent, a wholly–owned subsidiary, produces independent features such as “No Regrets” starring Janine Turner and Kate Jackson, and "Two Weeks" starring two time Academy Award winner Sally Field. Transcendent's current project is “Jubilee,” based on the remarkable true story of Ella Sheppard and the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, who introduced the Negro Spirituals to the world in 1871.

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