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Baldessari Gone

from The LA Times

John Baldessari, radically influential Conceptual artist, dies at 88


John Baldessari
John Baldessari likened his task to that of writers of detective fiction or poetry who build an “architecture of meaning” by juxtaposing disparate elements. (Los Angeles Times)

In 1970, Los Angeles artist John Baldessari was ready to take his work in a new direction, so he gathered up paintings he made between 1953 and 1966, brought them to a mortuary and had them cremated — the remains laid to rest in an urn for what would eventually be called “Cremation Project.”

Even in the act of destruction, Baldessari was a man of creation.

Forty-seven years later, when The Times visited the 85-year-old artist in his L.A. studio, Baldessari was in the midst of no fewer than five new series of works, with a survey exhibition of sculptural prints opening soon at the L.A. studio Mixografia and a retrospective on the horizon at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City.

This seemingly tireless spirit — a gentle giant of Conceptual art whose irreverent questions about the nature of art brought him international acclaim and shaped a generation of younger talent — died in his sleep Thursday at 88. The death was confirmed Sunday by Baldessari’s foundation and by Margo Leavin, his former Los Angeles art dealer.

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Posted on January 5, 2020 by Editor

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