Doing Dumb Stuff?

Stills from video “I will not make any more boring art”, in which Baldessari writes that phrase repetetively

 “John Baldessari, the 79-year-old conceptualist, has spent more than four decades making laconic, ironic conceptual art-about-art, both good and bad. His style is familiar and recognizable, wry and dry: It usually incorporates a photo or grid of pictures, often black-and-white and grainy, with the vibe of a seventies issue of Artforum; text of some kind; a found object placed casually; a video or maybe a newspaper clipping or some other element taken from popular culture. The approach is hugely influential, setting the precedent for interesting artists like Cindy Sherman and David Salle. In a sense, Baldessari imagined a large circular room with a hundred entrances and exits. Thousands of artists could go through, and did. After a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s retrospective, you’ll see that Baldessari’s children have overrun Chelsea.

And that’s the problem. Even a former student like Salle admits that “at least three generations of artists” doing “dumb stuff … is largely John’s fault.” Baldessari’s interesting niche bewitched too many people, creating a hackneyed academy of smarty-pants work that addresses the same issues in the same ways, over and over, just the way Baldessari and others of his generation did 40 years ago.”

 -Great article on John Baldessari (ostensibly inspired by the new exhibition at the Met) by Jerry Saltz
Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell, John Baldessari

2 thoughts on “Doing Dumb Stuff?

  1. I am not a fan of conceptualist art for the most part, except for the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which is rich and loamy rather than dry and reductive (well, I lot of what I see of conceptual art is kind of sterile).

  2. Museum of Jurassic Technology? That sounds amazing. Like A-mazing. Did you know Walkmans just got discontinued?

    Something about the poster really rang true–I felt like I could just as easily come across it in Chelsea today.

Leave a Reply