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John Baldessari Biography


Prolific conceptual artist, John Baldessari, was born in California, USA in 1931. He taught art for nearly 30 years in the San Diego school system. He was also a member of the faculty at the University of California from 1968 – 1986.

Baldessari was committed to exploring the transitory and ridiculous nature of art. This powerful embrace and rejection of his own profession characterised much of his early work. He went so far as to burn some of his creations in 1970 before baking the ashes into cookies. The artistic expression was thus reborn as the remains as well as the recipe for the cookies.

John Baldessari was perhaps best known for his work involving linguistic forms. These were often displayed without context or on top of unrelated visual works. Some of these would reference the materials of the artwork offering a multi-layered conceptual experience to the observer.

Prints, books and films are other modes of expression that Baldessari explored. He produced multiple works in all of these modes.

Baldessari engages with modern culture in a direct ways. He contributed to the 2008 collection – Artists for Obama. He continues to produce important, large scale works such as, most recently, Graduation for the Vienna State Opera House.

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