Hunter Drohojowska [essay]: JOHN BALDESSARI: CALIFORNIA VIEWPOINTS. Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1986. First edition [limited to 1,000 copies]. Slim quarto. Die cut saddle-stiched wrappers. 20 pp. 9 illustrations. Faint handling wear, otherwise a fine, fresh copy.
7.5 x 8.5 catalog of John Baldessari's exhibition at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, August 23 to September 12, 1986. A nice little production.
John Anthony Baldessari (b. 1931) is an American conceptual artist known for his work featuring found photography and appropriated images. He lives and works in Santa Monica and Venice, California. Initially a painter, Baldessari began to incorporate texts and photography into his canvases in the mid-1960s. In 1970 he began working in printmaking, film, video, installation, sculpture and photography. He has created thousands of works that demonstrate--and, in many cases, combine--the narrative potential of images and the associative power of language within the boundaries of the work of art. His art has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. His work influenced Cindy Sherman, David Salle, and Barbara Kruger among others.
Baldessari is best known for works that blend photographic materials (such as film stills), take them out of their original context and rearrange their form, often including the addition of words or sentences. Related to his early text paintings were his Wrong series (1966-1968), which paired photographic images with lines of text from an amateur photography book, aiming at the violation of a set of basic "rules" on snapshot composition. In one of the works, Baldessari had himself photographed in front of a palm precisely so that it would appear that the tree were growing out of his head. His photographic California Map Project (1969) created physical forms that resembled the letters in "California" geographically near to the very spots on the map that they were printed. In the Binary Code Series, Baldessari used images as information holders by alternating photographs to stand in for the on-off state of binary code; one example alternated photos of a woman holding a cigarette parallel to her mouth and then dropping it away.