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A Brief History of John Baldessari

Meet John Baldessari:


Best known as the man who uses found photography and puts dots over people’s faces, Baldessari is a towering figure (no, like really—almost 7 feet tall!) in the conceptual art world. He grew up in National City, California in the 1940s and ‘50s (where there was some kind of awesomeness in the water—Tom Waits grew up there too). 

Baldessari does everything—film, video, painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation—often incorporating both text and images to really draw out the stories that images can tell.

John Baldessari, There Isn’t Time (Goya Series), 1997


John Baldessari, Detail of Cutting Ribbon Man in Wheelchair, 1988


Selection of "Wrong Images" from the Pure Beauty Catalog, John Baldessari


As Michael Govan, Director of LACMA, said on NPR: “Sometimes he takes away the thing that’s most obvious, at the center of your vision, forces you to look at everything else, almost for the first time, to make sense of what you’re seeing.”



Cover image: National City, John Baldessari, 1996