Artist | John Baldessari (*1931)

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    • John Baldessari

      An Artist Is Not Merely the Slavish Announcer ...1968

Biography (deutsch)

Biography (deutsch)

Geboren am 17. Juni 1931 in National City, Kalifornien
1949 - 53 B.A., San Diego State College, Kalifornien
1954 - 55 University of California at Berkeley
1955 University of California Los Angeles
1955 - 57 M.A., San Diego State College, Kalifornien
1957 - 59 Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles
1957 - 59 Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles

About the work (english / deutsch)

About the work (english / deutsch)

An Artist Is Not Merely the Slavish Announcer ...
In 1966, John Baldessari averred that newspaper photos, pictures from magazines and words all lay closer to the human heart than did paintings. He produced first conceptual pictures - logically they were compiled of photographs and texts - in 1967 - 8. In these equi-sized pictures, which include An Artist is Not Merely the Slavish Announcer ... (1967 - 8), words or short texts are placed beneath a black-and-white photograph printed across almost the entire width of the canvas, Together, the text and the image - showing Southem Californian motifs and typical cityscapes - create a direct substantive or associative context enabling the viewer to recognize that contemplating art is a process of seeing with the eyes and concretization with the mind: perception becomes discernible as a legible language. The large panel entitled Ashputtle consist of 11 black-and-white and one color photograph. Made in 1982, it is part of a series of six photo-based artworks which Baldessari created as homage to the Brother Grimm fairy Tales. Each of the six has the same size and structure. He had the idea for the series while working in 1982 for 'documenta' in Kassel, the birth town of the Grimms. The fairy tales intersted him because they used a simple direct style with an encoded truth legible behind the texts and playfully linked the adult's and the children's world. The simplicity of the narrative, intended to ensure that the core message was conveyed to the listener as directly as possible, complemented the complexity of the contents to be transported. Baldessari took the narrative structure of the fairy Tales, which is based on the mutual effect of elements of both appeal and fear, as the key for his artistic project. Whereas events in the real world are transformed in the stories into fantasy worlds, in Baldessari's photographic works they are transposed into worlds of symbolic images.
Baldessari took 11 black-and-white photographs presenting stills from the Ashputtle film, thus placing key scenes from the fairy tales in a sequence revolving around a color photo. The arrangement of four rows of three pictorial fields can be read from left to right, from top to bottom, and in a circle, creating a concentric pictorial structure which can thus be read in many ways. The specific colors and striking motifs give the color photo at the center (Ashputtle's golden shoe covered in blood) an emblematic, symbolic significance. Baldessari thus alludes to the complex levels at which the signifying contents of the fairy tales function, as do the individual images which tell the stories but at the same time also embody symbolic key scenes. These levels of meaning are of a collective nature and can be deciphered by the viewer to a certain extent. Alongside them, behind the selected stills we can detect the artist's personal choreography and personal connotations, which tend to be inexplicable. Here, some of the photos hint at existential elements, the fears of childhood, fear of death, or reflections of personal experiences the artist made in different phases of his development Baldessaris photo works thus form a miniature cosmos of private and collective memories and feelings.


An Artist Is Not Merely the Slavish Announcer ...
John Baldessari konstatierte im Jahr 1966, daß Zeitungsfotos, Abbildungen in Zeitschriften und Worte den Menschen näher lägen, als Malerei. Um dies zu hinterfragen wurden seine ersten konzeptuellen Bilder, zu denen auch die Arbeit An Artist is Not Merely the Slavish Announcer ... (1967/68) gehört, aus Fotografien und Texten zusammengesetzt. Die gleich großen Werke der Serie zeigen jeweils Worte oder kurze Texte unterhalb einer fast die gesamte Bildbreite einnehmenden, auf die Leinwand gedruckten Schwarzweißfotografie. Die Texte und die Fotografien - ihre Motive zeigen für das südliche Kalifornien typische Stadtlandschaften - stehen stets in einem direkten inhaltlichen oder assoziativen Zusammenhang, so daß der Betrachter den Prozeß seiner Wahrnehmung in Form einer lesbaren Sprache erfahren kann; die Fotografie im Bild und das Bild selbst erhalten für den Betrachter ihre Bedeutung erst durch die Sprache.
Die großformatige, aus elf gleich großen Schwarzweißfotografien und einem Farbfoto bestehende Tafel mit dem Titel Ashputtle (1982) wurde von Baldessari als Hommage an die Märchen der Gebrüder Grimm entworfen. Die Idee zu dieser Serie hatte der Künstler 1982 während er für die Documenta in Kassel, dem Geburtsort der Dichter, eine Werkgruppe schuf. Die Märchen faszinierten ihn wegen ihrer einfachen, direkten Sprache, ihrer verschlüsselten, hinter den Texten lesbaren Wahrheiten und ihrer spielerischen Verknüpfung der Kinder- und Erwachsenenwelt. Ihre erzählerische Struktur der Texte, die stets auf der Wechselwirkung von Anziehung und Furcht basiert, war für Baldessari Schlüssel für seine eigene künstlerische Gestaltung. Er reihte die elf Schwarzweißfotografien, die er Standbildern einer Verfilmung des Märchens entnahm, in einer Sequenz von Schlüsselszenen aneinander, welche die Farbaufnahme im Zentrum umkreisen. Durch die Anordnung der Fotos in vier Reihen zu je drei Bildfeldern ist die Bildstruktur der Tafel im Ganzen konzentrisch und wird von links nach rechts, von oben nach unten sowie im Kreis lesbar. Das Farbfoto - der mit Blut befleckte goldene Schuh Aschenputtels - erhält durch seine Leuchtkraft und Position emblematische Bedeutung. Hinter den ausgewählten Standfotos, die jeder Kenner des Märchens auf einer mehr vordergründigen Ebene entschlüsseln kann, verbergen sich darüber hinaus persönliche Konnotationen des Künstlers, die zum Teil Spiegelbilder persönlicher Erlebnisse sind, aber auch existentielle Erfahrungen, Ängste der Kindheit oder Furcht vor dem Tod betreffen. Baldessaris Fotoarbeit wird damit zu einem kleinen Kosmos privater und kollektiver Erinnerungen und Gefühle.


German text by Rolf Lauter / Translation by Jeremy Gaines
(Extract - Full printed version available in the Museum)
MMK - Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main

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Exhibition History 

Exhibition History

 
SUMMARY based on artist-info records. More details and Visualizing Art Networks on demand.
Venue types: Gallery / Museum / Non-Profit / Collector
Exhibitions in artist-info 291 (S 65/ G 226) Did show together with - Top 5 of 3867 artists
(no. of shows) - all shows - Top 100
Bruce Nauman (64)- 557
Edward Ruscha [Ed Ruscha] (54)- 363
Lawrence Weiner (43)- 357
Andy Warhol (41)- 853
Vito Acconci (40)- 182
Exhibitions by type
291:   84 / 128 / 72 / 7
Venues by type
211:   58 / 89 / 59 / 5
Curators 171
artist-info records Jun 1960 - Nov 2017
Countries - Top 5 of 24
United States (111)
Germany (72)
Switzerland (16)
France (14)
United Kingdom (8)
Cities - Top 5 of 101
New York (64)
Los Angeles (18)
Frankfurt am Main (17)
Zürich (12)
Paris (10)
Venues (no. of shows ) Top 5 of 211
Mai 36 Galerie (8)
Museum of Modern Art - MoMA (1/7) (6)
MMK 1 - Museum für Moderne Kunst (5)
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris - MAM (4)
Paula Cooper Gallery (4)
Curators (no. of shows) Top 5 of 5
Jean-Christophe Ammann(4), Patterson Sims(3), Barbara Haskell(3), Richard D. Marshall(3), John G. Hanhardt(3)
Offers/Requests Exhibition Announcement S / G Solo/Group Exhibitions   (..) Exhibitions + Favorites
Exhibition Title

Art and Alphabet

Hamburger Kunsthalle G Jul 2017 - Oct 2017 Hamburg (187) +0
Exhibition Title

The Great Graphic Boom

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart G Jul 2017 - Nov 2017 Stuttgart (57) +0
Exhibition Title

[un]erwartet. Die Kunst des Zufalls

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart G Sep 2016 - Feb 2017 Stuttgart (78) +0
Froitzheim, Eva-Marina (Curator)       +0
Exhibition Title

The Sonnabend Collection

 - Half a Century of American and European Art. Part I
Fundação de Serralves G Feb 2016 - May 2016 Porto (22) +0
Homem, Antonio (Curator)       +0
Braga, Isabel Sousa (Curator)       +0
Exhibition Title

John Baldessari

Sprüth Magers - LA S Feb 2016 - Apr 2016 Los Angeles (2) +0
Exhibition Title

John Baldessari

 - The Städel Paintings
Städel Museum S Nov 2015 - Jan 2016 Frankfurt am Main (151) +0
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