John Baldessari

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John Baldessari is known as the founding father of conceptual art. He is one of the most well-known and influential artists of all time. People say that he changed the way photography and painting on canvas were done in the 20th century. People like Cindy Sherman, David Salle, and Barbara Kruger were influenced by the clever ways he used art. His early works were paintings, but later he made a lot of conceptual combinations of text, photos, and videos. All of these works showed how art can be used to communicate. Some of his best-known works are “Wrong Series,” “California Map Project,” “The Cremation Project,” “Binary Code Series,” “Police Drawing Project,” “Inventory videos,” and “I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art.” His art has been shown in over 200 solo shows in the US and Europe. His work shows how humor and wit can be used in something as fluid and abstract as painting or photography. His art is a direct reflection of who he is and how he lives. It is free, vivid, colorful, and abstract.

Early years and childhood

John Baldessari was born in California to Dutch and Italian immigrants. His mother was from the Netherlands and his father was from Italy.

He went to San Diego State University and got a BA and an MA there. He also went to the University of California, the Otis Art Institute, and the Chouinard Art Institute.

After he graduated, he taught art at Southwestern University in California, the University of California at San Diego, and the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

John Baldessari’s Career

Around the middle of the 1960s, he worked on photographic images and used both text and photography in his works.
In 1967, he showed the “Wrong Series,” which was a group of photographs with text that had been put together for a book of photographs that broke all the basic rules of composition.

His work “Painting for Kubler,” which he finished in 1968 and is mostly text on canvas, is a great example of his typographic art. In the same year, he had his first one-man show at the Los Angeles Molly Barnes Gallery.
In July 1970, he burned all of his paintings from art school. He called this “The Cremation Project.” The burned paintings’ ashes were baked into cookies and put in an urn, which was one of his art installations.

In the “Binary Code Series,” he used photographs that were made to look like binary codes to hold information.
In the early 1970s, he made a series of videos about how art was changing. Some of these were called “Baldessari Sings Lewit,” “Police Drawing Project,” “Inventory videos,” and “I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art.”

In 1971, he made a black-and-white video called “I Am Making Art,” which was about body art and conceptual art’s creative processes.
In the 1990s, he worked for an art company called “Mixografia Workshop” and made a lot of three-dimensional prints. “Person with Guitar” and “Noses and Ears” are two of his early three-dimensional works.

“Seashells Tridents Frames,” which he made in 1988, was a group of cropped and partially covered black-and-white photos.

In 2008, he made a print for the “Artists for Obama” portfolio. This was a collection of limited edition prints made by artists from all over the U.S. to support Barack Obama’s campaign for president.
In 2009, the Tate Modern Gallery in London held a major retrospective of his work called “Pure Beauty.” The show shows 150 pieces from his collection.

In 2010, a show of his work from the past 50 years was put on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Before it opened in New York, the show was at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In 2012, he made “Double Bill,” which is a series of large inkjet prints of the work of two artists put together on one canvas.

Works of note

As part of “The Cremation Project,” he burned all of his art from 1953 to 1966 in 1970. The artist’s ashes were kept in a bronze urn in the shape of a book, and a paid death notice was put in the newspaper.
In 2007, “Quality Material,” one of his word-only works, sold at Christie’s in New York for $4,408,000. Christie’s is the largest art auction house in the world.

Awards & Achievements

In 1988, he was given a Guggenheim Fellowship because of how creatively he could make art.
In 1997, the Governor of California gave him an award for “Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts.”
In 1999, he won the “Photography of the Foundation of Lower Saxony” Spectrum-International Award in Germany.

In 2009, at the 53rd International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy, he won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

Estimated Net worth

John is one of the wealthiest Conceptual artists and is on the list of the most well-known Conceptual artists. Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider all say that John Baldessari is worth about $1.5 million.


This American conceptual artist burned his paintings and put colored dots on the faces of people in photographs.