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John Baldessari

American, 1931-2020

Although conceptual artist John Baldessari is best known for the richly provocative juxtapositions of photographic images and text that characterize his prints and paintings, he actually had something of a traditional art world upbringing — if such a thing exists.

Born in Southern California, Baldessari earned several art degrees, from art education to art history to painting. He also taught art at various institutions such as the California Institute of the Arts throughout his life. Among his many students were David Salle, Tony Oursler, Jim Shaw and Mike Kelley. While helping to shape the art world in Los Angeles, he simultaneously developed his own name as an artist.

In the 1950s, Baldessari’s works were primarily semiabstract paintings, but during the late 1960s, he began to distance himself from painting, as he bristled at the idea of limiting art to a single medium. Baldessari decided to take his career in a dramatically different direction. He burned all his paintings at a funeral home in San Diego, then incorporated the ashes into cookie dough, producing (nonedible) baked goods for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

“It was a very public and symbolic act,” he said, “like announcing you’re going on a diet in order to stick to it.”

From that point on, Baldessari took on an MO of experimentation, dabbling in mediums from video to printmaking to sculpture. “I just stare at something and say: Why isn’t that art? Why couldn’t that be art?” he said in an interview in 2008.

The works for which Baldessari is most highly regarded, however, are striking collages of images and text — many of which are seemingly nonsensical — such as Tom’s Hand Grips the Steering, Wheel… (2015), in which the title’s text is displayed beneath a hippopotamus. As such is his body of work: bringing a sense of joviality to the sometimes too-serious world of conceptual art.

Before he died in 2020, Baldessari was honored with the 2014 National Medal of Arts Award, the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement and more.

Find original John Baldessari art on 1stDibs.

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Creator: John Baldessari
Maharam Serpentine Galleries Wallpaper by John Baldessari
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Maharam Serpentine Galleries wallpaper Potato/lightbulb by John Baldessari 001 John Baldessari is a conceptual artist based in Santa Monica who uses text and appropriated imagery a...
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John Baldessari: in collaboration with among others Kaws, Ed Ruscha and Ai Weiei
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VISIONAIRE/64 ART: JOHN BALDESSARI This project by Visionaire in collaboration with John Baldessari exploits the current ease of digital assemblage and self-portraiture. Visionair...
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John Baldessari Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line, 1973
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Located in Stamford, CT
John Baldessari 1931-2019 "Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts)", 1973 Complete portfolio of twelve offset lithographs in colors, on...
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"48th New York Film Festival" 2010 U.S. Poster
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Original 2010 U.S. poster by John Baldessari for the 1963 festival New York Film Festival. Fine condition, rolled. Please note: the size is stated in inches and the actual size can v...
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John Baldessari 'Raised Eyebrows/Furrowed Foreheads/Figure with Globe', 2009
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Previously Available Items
"John Baldessari - Catalogue Raisonné Volume One: 1956-1974"
By John Baldessari
Located in London, GB
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John Baldessari furniture for sale on 1stDibs

John Baldessari furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are frequently made of paper and designed with extraordinary care. In our John Baldessari collection, there are many options to choose from, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. In stock, we have 1 vintage editions of these items, while there are 4 modern editions to choose from as well. Many original furniture by John Baldessari was created in the modern style in the United States during the 21st century and contemporary. Many customers also consider furniture by Robert Charles Gruppé, Anne Raymond and Shepard Fairey if you’re looking for additional options. Prices for John Baldessari furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at $231 and tops out at $26,900, while pieces like these can sell for $600 on average.

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