John Baldessari: Pure Beauty at the Met
John Baldessari: Pure Beauty, running now through January at the Met, is packed with the kind of visually clever, relentlessly entertaining works that have earned him recognition as one of the great pioneers of the Conceptual Art movement. In and of itself, this is an extremely engaging exhibition, filled with energy and spectacle and humor. But what really struck us is how so much of John Baldessari's artwork, some of it more than 40 years old now, would fit right in on the most forward-thinking art and design blogs. Goodbye to Boats (Sailing In), a series of self-portraits of the artist waving at boats? I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, written hundreds of times, over and over? Photographs of the Backs of Trucks, a series of shots taken from artist John Baldessari's car on a California freeway? All of these (and a lot more) have been directly copied, in conscious homage or not, by today's digital artists.
We really enjoyed most everything at John Baldessari: Pure Beauty, but a few favorites would have to include the oddly disconcerting Pelicans Staring At Woman With Nose Bleeding (are these seabirds always so menacing looking?); the giggle-inducing video piece Baldessari Sings Lewitt, in which the artist turns his contemporary's written essays into (extremely off-key) musical numbers; and the very cool Throwing Three Balls Into the Air to Get a Straight Line, a photographic series of brightly colored balls tossed upward into the even brighter sky that makes us want to go to out to the park this weekend to see if we can recreate John Baldessari's art results. Helpfully, the Met's gift shop actually sells packs of red balls, should you also be so inspired.
John Baldessari: Pure Beauty at the Met details
John Baldessari artwork will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from now through January 9, 2011. The Met is located on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, and is open Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday until 9:00 p.m. Admission is always suggested at the Met, which makes it eminently affordable to pop in and see a a single show, and then be on your way. For more information about the John Baldessari exhibition, and about the museum as a whole, please see the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.