Tuesday, October 14, 2008

John Baldessari

It seems that I am yet again a day late in response.... I really need to get this together!

I tend to think that most conceptual art is basically just a lack of talent coupled with bizarre ideas. For example, I'm sure you all remember the video of the artist whose work was to paint the white floor of a gallery black with hair dye, using her hair as a brush. I'm sure that anyone with half a brain can connect this weird "artistic idea" to some overarching feminist thought; that much is all too easy....
John Baldessari though, on the other hand, actually makes me laugh with his concepts! His goal, as far as I know, is to make the art world appear absurd---thus he gives us absurd art! This doesn't always work with a conceptual artist who is attempting to take themselves overly serious while, say, painting a floor with their hair....

Take for instance Baldessari's The Pencil Story. Here he makes "art" out of the extremely mundane, and almost presents the story as some obsessive need to right the repulsive wrong of the dull pencil. Even yet, despite this obsession, despite seeing and loathing it every day, he succumbs to that most familiar of human traits: laziness---that is, until the obsession resurfaces and he cannot take it any more. The pencil must be sharpened, the cosmic order restored to its once great and absolute place! And then, to top it off as all "real" artists must, who have something dire and ultimately important to say, Baldessari tells you that this might be art.... But in the end he's not sure. Hahaha!! Genius!

"If I saw the art around me that I liked, then I wouldn’t do art."

-Bryce VanHoosen-

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