- Do you sense how all the parts of a good picture are involved with each other, not just placed side by side? Art is a creation for the eye and can only be hinted at with words.
American artist John Anthony Baldessari (June 17, 1931 – January 2, 2020) was an American conceptual artist known for his work featuring found photography and appropriated images. Initially a painter, Baldessari began to incorporate texts and photography into his canvases in the mid-1960s.
- It was during this period that the Southern California-based artist lived and worked in Santa Monica and Venice, California. Baldessari began to reconsider both the nature of painting and more broadly, the practice of art-making itself. Undermining the importance of the artist’s hand in creating a work, he hired a commercial sign painter to execute What is Painting.
- Challenging the artist’s contribution of content, Baldessari appropriated the work’s text from an instructional book; turning sentences on how to compose an artwork into a self-referential painting.
- From 1970 onwards, he began working in printmaking, film, video, installation, sculpture and photography.
‘I think the wonderful irony about this piece is that it’s text‘, Baldessari has said. ‘But in fact it is a painting, because it’s done with paint on canvas. So I’m really being very slyly ironic here in saying “Well, this is what painting is“.
What is Painting? | Is It Art?
“Is It Art?”