Art21 Extended Play

John Baldessari | Recycling Images


While sifting through boxes of film stills in his Santa Monica studio, artist John Baldessari talks about being a pack rat and discusses his attitude towards appropriating images.

Synthesizing photomontage, painting, and language, Baldessari’s deadpan visual juxtapositions equate images with words and illuminate, confound, and challenge meaning. He upends commonly held expectations of how images function, often by drawing the viewer’s attention to minor details, absences, or the spaces between things.

John Baldessari is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Systems of the Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS.

Baldessari’s work can currently be seen at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona in the retrospective titled Pure Beauty (through April 25). The exhibition later travels to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (June 2010) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (October 2010).

VIDEO | Producer: 
Wesley Miller & 
Nick Ravich

. Interview: 
Susan Sollins

. Camera: 
Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & 
Paulo Padilha. 

Artwork Courtesy: 
John Baldessari.