No artist has bridged the gap between photography and painting quite like John Baldessari. For over 40 years, he’s given the world art that truly blurs the line between the two, normally thought of as separate arts. And for the most part, John Baldessari prints and his works have been well received by many critics and fans of all ages.
Now in 2010, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art-or LACMA-Baldessari is front and center to the Los Angeles crowd with his new show, “John Baldessari: Pure Beauty.” The show acts as a complete retrospective of his work, and gives an all encompassing view on the progression and growth of his art.
The whole retrospective begins with some of his earliest paintings, as Baldessari originally began his works as a painter. By viewing some of his paintings, dated around 1962-you really get to a great view on the marvelous beginnings of this prolific artist. Some of his earliest pieces are no doubt the roots of Conceptual Art. For example his work, “Tips for Artists Who Want To Sell” is one of his most famous pieces, and gives a humorous take on the role of the artist-and what an artist must to do captivate. The last line says “Subject Matter is important: It has been said that paintings with cows and hens in them collect dust-while the same paintings with bulls and roosters sell.” Quite clever for the work of a younger Baldessari.
His later works-available in the form of John Baldessari Prints-deal with the merging of photography and painting. Formally-this is definitely some of the earliest appropriation art, as the compositions are done over culturally significant film stills. For example his work, “Foot and Stocking” gives the prolific vision, and original use of color. The John Baldessari prints of said works, are quite hard to find-and collectors scramble to collect this culturally mind-bending work. One of his most prolific works is no doubt, “God Nose” which depicts a decapitated nose, in the middle of a sky with clouds. The bold statement is clear-as is the pure magnificence of John Baldessari prints and his work. Actually, “God Nose” is one of the most sought after Baldessari works, as it really marks the end of his career as a conceptual artist-and marks the start of his more culturally relevant work, in his newer appropriation style.
Baldessari’s ability to close the gap between the camera and the brush is a skill that will not be soon forgotten. His work in this light is sometimes happy, and other times can emit emotions of surprise-but the inventiveness of his artwork is unquestionable. Through the 140 plus works on display at the LACMA, the musings and concepts of Baldessari are made quite evident.
And why exactly is this combination of painting and photography visible in John Baldessari prints such as “Person with Guitar”-so important? Today is the media age, and any citizen who lives in the year 2010 is bombarded with images at all times-so to a great degree we’re largely desensitized to the power of great imagery. And photographs have also lead the decreased significant in paintings. Yet Baldessari has a solution-he gives us photographs of cultural importance, things we should FEEL and SEE-yet paints atop them in the most original ways possible to give us the most fresh view possible. He reintroduces the power into powerful imagery.
In all the show was beautiful-and perfectly themed for the year 2010, in a time when people often take artistic media for granted. Going through a complete retrospective of the work of John Baldessari is an experience that I could recommend to anyone. It’s heavily evident from his magnificent and prolific works that John Baldessari prints and original works will definitely be assets in the future. After all-this man created conceptual art, and really truly does blur the line between photography and painting.
So if you’re looking for John Baldessari prints that were featured in the LACMA show “John Baldessari: Pure Beauty” be sure to visit Gemini G.E.L. for a large variety of art prints from Baldessari and other well renowned artists.
If you’re interested in John Baldessari prints be sure to make an appointment by calling 323-651-0513 as our galleries are appointment only.