Baldessary John

Publié le par Olivier Lussac

A major figure in contemporary art, John Baldessari has been termed "one of the most influential artists to emerge since the mid-1960s." From his phototext canvases of the 1960s to his composite photo collages and installations of the 1980s, Baldessari has contributed to the definition of postmodern art. His ingenious application of certain art-making strategies -- including appropriation, deconstruction, decontextualization, sequentiality and text/image juxtaposition -- was prescient, as was his cogent and witty integration of semiology, linguistic systems and mass media.
As one of the seminal figures in the language-based Conceptual Art movement of the early 1970s, Baldessari produced a series of videotapes in which he conducted ironic investigations into perception, meaning and interpretation. Rendered with deadpan, often absurdist humor, these droll conceptual exercises make use of cultural artifacts, from film stills and magazine photos to art historical in-jokes, as frameworks for irreverent philosophical inquiries into art and knowledge. With a cunning reliance on misrecognition and misinformation, Baldessari uses irony and incongruity to exploit the gap between what is heard, what is seen, and what is understood. His wry investigations of representation and sign systems succeed through strategies such as the ironic juxtaposition of photographic or video images and written or verbal texts; the use of appropriated material and found objects to underscore the embedded meaning of pop cultural genres; the construction of disjunctive narratives and surreal conjunctions from re-contextualized words and images, and the indexing of objects of actions.
Many of his exercises take the form of parables, allegories, or "art lessons," as Baldessari the performer assumes the role of teacher or storyteller. His fascination with jokes, dreams, aphorisms, sight gags and linguistic pranks, which are linked to Freudian notions of unconscious associations and verbal and written "slips," evoke the visual puns and word games of Dada and Surrealism. Pervaded with reference to art-making and art history, and responding to the tenets of minimalism, performance and Conceptual Art, his tapes question the very limits of art, and form an irreverent critique of modernist practices. Baldessari playfully compels the viewer to question not only the system under investigation -- language, representation, narrative, art-making -- but also the tools by which the interrogation is being conducted (photography, video, cinema) as conveyers of truth. Ultimately, Baldessari's idiosyncratic, often absurdist logic questions the very process of perception, from vision and meaning to cognition and knowledge.
Baldessari was born in 1931. He received a B.A. and an M.A. from San Diego State College. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, he has taught at Southwestern University, California; the University of California at San Diego; and the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. His work has been exhibited internationally in one person shows at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Sonnabend Gallery, New York; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; and Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, among other institutions; and in group shows at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Documentas 4,5 and 6, Kassel, Germany; Venice Bienale; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; and the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, New York, among others. In 1990, he was the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, which traveled to numerous sites around the country. In conjunction with this exhibition, a comprehensive catalogue of his work, entitled John Baldessari, was published in 1990. Baldessari lives in Santa Monica, California.

John Baldessari has been termed "one of the most influential artists to emerge since the mid-1960s." From his phototext canvases to his composite photo collages and installations, Baldessari has contributed to the definition of postmodern art. In the early 1970s, he produced droll conceptual videotapes that are ironic investigations into perception, meaning and interpretation, rendered with deadpan, often absurdist humor.
Folding Hat  1970-71, 29:48 min, b&w, sound
Art Disaster  1971, 32:40 min, b&w, sound
I Am Making Art  1971, 18:40 min, b&w, sound
I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art  1971, 13:06 min, b&w, sound
Police Drawing  1971, 23:09 min, b&w, sound
Some Words I Mispronounce  1971, 2:20 min,  b&w, sound
Walking Forward-Running Past  1971, 12:45 min, b&w, sound
Baldessari Sings Lewitt  1972, 15 min, b&w, sound
Inventory  1972, 23:50 min, b&w, sound
Teaching a Plant the Alphabet  1972, 18:40 min, b&w, sound
Xylophone  1972, 25:38 min, b&w, sound
Ed Henderson Reconstructs Movie 1973, 24:04 min, b&w, sound
Haste Makes Waste  1973, 4 min, b&w, silent
How We Do Art Now  1973, 12:54 min, b&w, sound
Practice Makes Perfect  1973, 5:10 min, b&w, silent
The Meaning of Various News Photos to Ed Henderson  1973, 15:00 min, b&w, sound
The Way We Do Art Now and Other SacredTales  1973, 28:28 min, b&w, sound
Three Feathers and Other Fairy Tales  1973, 31:15 min, b&w, sound
Ed Henderson Suggests Sound Tracks for Photographs  1974, 27:51 min, b&w, sound
The Italian Tape  1974, 8:33 min, b&w, sound
Four Minutes of Trying to Tune Two Glasses, (For the Phil Glass Sextet)  1976, 4:09 min, b&w, sound
Six Colorful Tales: From the Emotional Spectrum (Women)  1977, 17:10 min, color, sound
Two Colorful Melodies  1977, 5:30 min, color, sound

Baldessari, John. This Not That. Manchester, England: Cornerhouse, 1995. In English, German, Norwegian, Portuguese.

Baldessari, Kabakov, Kosuth, Pistoletto. Basel: Kunsthalle Basel, 2000. In English and German.

Bruggen, Coosje van. John Baldessari. New York: Rizzoli, 1990.

Davies, Hugh M. and Andrea Hales. John Baldessari: National City. San Diego: Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 1996. Texts by Hugh M. Davies, Andrea Hales, David Antin, Jan Avgikos, Bice Curiger, Dave Hickey, Anne Rorimer, Abigail Solomon-Godeau.

Tetrad Series. New York: Marian Goodman  Gallery, 1999. Text by Thomas McEvilley.

John Baldessari
Throughout his career, John Baldessari has defied formalist categories by  working in a variety of media—creating films, videotapes, prints, photographs, texts, drawings, and multiple combinations of these. In his use of media imagery, Baldessari is a pioneer "image appropriator," and as such has had a profound impact on post-modern art production. Baldessari initially studied to be an art critic at the University of California, Berkeley during the mid 1950s, but growing dissatisfied with his studies, he turned to painting. Inspired by Dada and Surrealist literary and visual ideas, he began incorporating photographs, notes, texts, and fragments of conversation into his paintings. Baldessari remains fundamentally  interested in de-mystifying  artistic processes, and uses video to record his performances, which function as "deconstruction experiments." These illustrative exercises target prevailing ssumptions about art and artists, focusing on the perception, language, and interpretation of artistic images. These demonstrations provide an introduction to the major preoccupations of Baldessari's work, and the linguistic and aesthetic philosophies that inform it.                    
Born in 1931, John Baldessari studied art, literature, and art history at San Diego State College and the University of California, Berkeley. Influenced by dadaist and surrealist literary and visual ideas, he began incorporating found materials (billboard posters, photographs, film stills, snippets of conversation) into his canvases, playing off of chance relationships among otherwise discreet elements. Baldessari explains: "Everybody knows a different world, and only part of it. We communicate only by chance, as nobody knows the whole, only where overlapping takes place." Allowing pop-cultural artifacts to function as"information," as opposed to "form," Baldessari's works represented a radicaldeparture from, and often a direct critique of, the modernist sensibility that dominated painting for decades. In 1968, Baldessari met poet and critic David Antin, who helped launch Baldessari's career, introducing him to a like-minded group of emerging conceptual artists including Lawrence Weiner, Joseph Kosuth, Dan Graham, and On Kawara—all of whom would have a great influence on the development of Baldessari's work. Baldessari's videotapes, like his phototext canvases, employ strategies of disjunction (Some Words I Mispronounce, 1971), recontextualization (Baldessari Sings Lewitt, 1972), and allegory (The Way We Do Art Now and Other Sacred Tales, 1973)—pointing to the gap between perception and cognition.

Publié dans Biographies

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