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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathBaldessari

Visual Summary

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No More Boring Art
icon: authorJohn Miller

For artists of John Baldessari's generation, being professional had a great deal to do with education. Technical skills were a stigma, but wit was a plus. Baldessari's decision to work with Super-8 marked an unmistakable departure from both technology and mysticism. As the minimal events in his films are played out in real time, this is a recipe for boredom. In contrast with his films, Baldessari typically constructs his photographic work on the montage principle. He uses stills from films or television as his raw material. Precisely what is to be seen in the individual shots is left to chance. By combining these images with others, Baldessari wrenches them out of their intended narrative context. Hence the montage shifts latent meaning from the stills into the foreground. This use of photographs for a different purpose liberates them from their normal denotative function and lets them fall back into a more fundamental material quality. The artist uses this return to the material quality of photographs to reveal the grammar of film. Baldessari's reflexivity responds in this way to film and television as the dominant sign practices of mass culture, as the places where subjectivity is most lastingly formed and transformed. [more]more

Text Sections
icon: heading 1. From Artist to Art Making as a Hobbyicon: heading 2. The Super 8 Filmsicon: heading 3. Film as a Mediumicon: heading 4. Photographic Worksicon: heading 5. Between Glamour and Boredom