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NOWNESS: John Baldessari @ Art Basel Miami Beach

Directors Jauretsi and Crystal Moselle Ask Artists at the 2010 Art Fair About Life

A titan of America's West Coast art scene, the legendary John Baldessari is very much in the spotlight these days. His work is extensively exhibited at Miami Art Basel this week, and the man himself is in town to support a Getty Foundation-organized initiative entitled Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-980, which will see over 30 concurrent exhibitions mounted throughout southern California beginning in fall 2011. As a prelude, featured art world stars will appear in conversation with art historians in the courtyard of the revered Rubell Family Collection during the art fair. It's fitting that Baldessari is central to the endeavor: from cremating his early works (and using the ashes to bake cookies) to affixing outsized sculptures of human brains to gallery walls and, more recently, outfitting 15-foot Giacometti sculptures in hula hoops and blonde wigs, Baldessari has been a pioneering force in conceptual art for decades. He rose to fame alongside Ed Ruscha, David Hockney and Bruce Nauman, and can claim more than 200 solo exhibitions, including Pure Beauty, a major show of his work currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; he has also fostered a legion of great artists into existence, David Salle, Barbara Bloom and Mike Kelley among them. Directors Jauretsi and Crystal Moselle caught up with the icon during a quiet moment away from the hectic fair activity to talk teardrops, cigars and absurdist visions. The Pacific Standard Time collection will be on view at the Getty Institute from October 2011 to April 2012.

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