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John Baldessari

John Baldessari

*  1931 National City/Kalifornien
† 2020 Venice, Los Angeles, Kalifornien

John Baldessari, one of the most important and influential representatives of international conceptual art, was born as John Anthony Baldessari in National City, California, in 1931. In 1949 John Baldessari began to study at San Diego State College (until 1953), later he enrolled at the University of California (1954-1955) in Berkeley and at the University of California (1955) in Los Angeles, before leaving for San Diego to study at the State College for two years. Eventually, he completed his studies in Los Angeles at the Chouinard Art Institute and the Otis Art Institute from 1957 to 1959.
Immediately after he graduated, John Baldessari's outstanding academic career took off: After a first teaching post at San Diego State College (1959-1961) he followed a call to teach at Southwestern College in San Diego. In 1968 John Baldessari changed to the University of California in San Diego where he was active as lecturer and assistant professor. Between 1970 and 1988 John Baldessari had a professorship at the prestigious California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. The same year, in 1970, John Baldessari settled in sunny Santa Monica, close to the metropolis of Los Angeles. In 1996, the John Baldessari's university career was crowned by a chair at the University of California at Los Angeles, and in 2007 he quit teaching at the age of 76.
As a freelance artist John Baldessari proved to be highly innovative and versatile from an early point on, he created works in different genres and in various techniques. His experimental early works reveal influences by Marcel Duchamp, before his oeuvre was fully geared at concept art. The art project "Cremation Painting" is a major work of concept art by John Baldessari: John Baldessari burned all his own works from the creative period between 1953 and 1966 that still were in his possession, he documented this process and packed the cremated art in little boxes. In addition to such actions, John Baldessari made complex photo and video art, as well as profound series working with image and text.
Among the countless awards that accompany John Baldessari's artistic career, the "Golden Lion" of the Venetian Biennial which the artist received in 2009 in honor of his life's work is particularly worthwhile mentioning. The multiple honorary doctor John Baldessari had many solo exhibitions at prestigious international houses over the course of his career, most recently a retrospective titled "John Baldessari. Pure Beauty" at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona in 2010.
John Baldessari lives and works in Santa Monica/California.