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Private View: John Baldessari

John Baldessari in “Untitled” by Todd Cole and Olu Michael Odukoya

The conceptual art pioneer on the impact of the internet

Under hazy light and the drone of airplanes at nearby Santa Monica airport, the legendary John Baldessari discusses art and the web in a new film by Todd Cole for arts magazine Modern Matter. After burning all his previous work in the early 70s and issuing the statement “I will not make any more boring art,” Baldessari re-defined the creative process and expanded accepted notions of art through appropriating images taken from advertising and film stills, garnering critical acclaim for covering his subjects with colored dots and displaying text-based works on billboards. More recently, Baldessari revealed his technical ambitions, creating his own iPhone app with LACMA, allowing users to remix famous still lifes and produce their own artworks. “We wanted to do something simple and beautiful, like the old Eames films or the educational films of the 60s and 70s, the kind of things I saw in junior high art class,” explains Cole, who collaborated with directors Peter J. Brant and Francesca Mirabella on the project. The short is part of an ongoing series where artists are asked a single, open-ended question about technology. “A generation like John’s has seen these technologies grow from their infancy,” explains Modern Matter Editor Olu Odukoya. “It’s interesting to hear an older artist talk about them.”

by Todd Cole and Olu Michael Odukoya

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