Friday, February 7, 2014

John Baldessari - I Like the Idea of Aerial Advertising...


John Baldessari - Two Figures 2005
The pioneering conceptual artist John Baldessari (b. 1931) began his career as a painter in the 1950s, but in the subsequent decades he expanded his practice in a new and groundbreaking direction by juxtaposing texts with found photography or appropriated images. These texts questioned the nature of art and the art-viewing experience, suggesting new meanings for the images they accompanied. This interaction of words and images remained a critical aspect of Baldessari's work, even as he branched into other media, such as site-specific installations, drawings, video, sculpture, prints, and multiples.

The two volume edition, More Than You Wanted To Know About John Baldessari, edited by
Meg Cranston and Hans Ulrich Obrist trace the development of Baldessari's understanding of art from the early 1960's to the present day. These books read like the pages from an artist's work book and for me his writing excites my vision in the knowledge that trial and error is essential while knowing that danger is never far away. Baldessari is a risk taker and so must we be.

After burning his paintings in 1970 Baldessari commenced an affair with photography, making photography work for him using it as a tool to make marks on paper.

Here are some random quotes from Vol 2 of More Than You Wanted...
enigma is what I believe art should accomplish...if I show you everything, it's going to be ho-hum, if I make a picture a guessing game, I might capture your attention for a little while longer...my goal has been to attack conventions of seeing...paradoxically complex and simple, simple and complex. And beautiful. Isn't this what artist should attempt to achieve?
Be suspicious of experts and received wisdom. The old sort of minimalist discovery that the more you take away, the more charged the imagery gets...one's art is the truest picture of one's life...beware of idyllic photographs, beware of clever photographs, beware of humble photographs. A photo can equal a painting. They should not be separate categories or histories. Does a single image equal a single truth? Multiple images can mirror multiple truths. Prioritize photos with no aesthetic intent.


...and I like this: most good art students know more about art in their little finger than most art dealers know in their entire body.

These quotes are just a taste, for the full meal, both books are available on Book Depository, Volume 1 and Volume 2. In my view essential reading.


You can go to John Baldessari's site HERE



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