“I go back and forth between wanting to be abundantly simple and maddeningly complex. I always compare what I do to the work of a mystery writer—like, you don’t want to know the end of the book right away. What a good writer does is give you false clues. You go here, no, that’s not right; you go here, no, that’s not right, and then…I much prefer that kind of game.” – John Baldessari
California based artist John Baldessari’s work is most often recognised as Conceptual or Minimalist. He is known for his pioneering use of appropriated imagery and works using found photography. His signature pieces are juxtapositions of images and text that delve into the power of language and the way in which art is communicated. His extensive body of work demonstrates the power of communication that can arise when texts and images are used in unison. Baldessari does this whilst offering a commentary on contemporary culture. Although he was initially a painter, since the 1970s, John Baldessari has worked less with paint and increasingly with collage as well as printmaking, film, video installation, sculpture and photography. This move away from painting gave rise to his interest in billboards, and the ways in which they function as a popular means of communication. Influences from fellow artists including Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, David Salle and Annette Lemieux are evident throughout much of his oeuvre.
American, 1931-2020, lived in Santa Monica and Venice, California