Farewell to Influential Conceptual Artist John Baldessari

Beloved American contemporary artist John Baldessari died at age 88 this weekend in LA. He began his career as a painter in the ’50s, but by 1970, he had grown so tired of his earlier works that he took them to a San Diego funeral home and had them cremated (before apparently using the ashes to bake cookies). Baldessari’s art knew no bounds and his iconic catalogue spans video, sculpture, mixed media and more; sometimes irreverent, sometimes humorous, they’re always thought-provoking. As Jori Finkel writes for the New York Times, “While so much early conceptual art tended toward the cold and cerebral, Mr Baldessari’s was infused with a droll sense of humor. He employed a sort of Dada irony and sometimes colorful Pop Art splashes—blue was his favorite color—to rescue conceptual art from what he saw as its high-minded self-seriousness.” He has influenced artists through his work and during his tenure as a teacher, some of his former students include Mike Kelley, Meg Cranston and David Salle. His artworks, and his thoughtful and playful attitude (“I just stare at something and say: Why isn’t that art? Why couldn’t that be art?” he once mused), will remain significant around the world. Read more at The New York Times.