Almost 40 years ago, John Baldessari made probably the most dramatic transition from painter to conceptual artist when he burned all of his paintings (yes, every single one) and baked the ashes of his past artwork into cookies for his 1970 “Cremation Project.” The installation that followed involved his cookies memorialized in an urn with a bronze plaque for each piece, including birth and death dates, as well as the recipe for the cookies. Next, he put a group of students to work in order to create a black and white lithograph with the words I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art scrawled over the canvas.
If you haven’t yet gathered for yourself, Baldessari knows how to make a statement with flair. He is, after all, the ultimate art world legend. And for years. Some may view his artistic decisions as manic, but his success would speak otherwise. Now 84 years young, he’s exhibited over two hundred times and just opened his new show on February 24 at Sprüth Magers in Los Angeles.
This current project includes “banal” found imagery paired with completely random text to create an excellently chaotic and colorful piece of art that invites the audience to figure out (or not) the meaning for themselves for a real dose of empowerment. In the words of the artist himself, “Well, if you know my work, it’s always the weirdest images I can find.”
*The exhibition runs until April 2, 2016, run on over.