Monday, July 12, 2010

"Pure Beauty" John Baldessari

Quite a character Mr. Baldessari is.  Last year I was lucky to catch the PBS Art 21: Systems episode featuring Baldessari and I was immediately intrigued by his work.  I love the way that his pieces hold my interest and gaze for quite a while as I try to piece the imagery together.  I love his ability to obscure bland regions of a photograph and give them much more meaning.  {This humorously makes me think of all the times I wanted to pull out old photographs and place circle stickers over the heads of ex-boyfriends or randoms who stick their mugs in our pictures.}  
To promote John Baldessari: Pure Beauty the traveling retrospective of his work, 1st Dibs has an Introspective of his work and the curating process with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Tate Modern, written by Marlena Donahue it is certainly a must read.

"...Baldessari's deadpan visual juxtapositions equate images with words and illuminate, confound, and challenge meaning. He upends commonly held expectations of how images function, often by drawing the viewer's attention to minor details, absences, or the spaces between things. By placing colorful dots over faces, obscuring portions of scenes, or juxtaposing stock photographs with quixotic phrases, he injects humor and dissonance into vernacular imagery." -Artist Biography excerpt taken from Art:21

Here is a short excerpt of the Art:21 Systems episode, which hopefully you can catch re-broadcast on PBS.  In this clip he describes how he upcycles old photos and imagery into his art:
{All images via 1st Dibs.  Video via Art 21.}

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