This Sunday (Feb. 2), ForYourArt celebrates the publication of More Than You Wanted to Know About John Baldessari, two new volumes of writings by artist and long-time CalArts faculty John Baldessari (Chouinard 59), with a recital at the Democracy Forum at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
The books, edited by artist and CalArts alumna Meg Cranston (Art MFA 86) and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, include Baldessari’s previously unpublished texts, notes to students, course handouts, texts on other artists, portions of his notebooks, and texts on his work. His writings address topics ranging from the problems of art students in search of ideas to the role of money in the art world.
More than 50 artists, friends and special guests will read and perform excerpts from the volumes. It’s a list that includes CalArts alumni Andrea Bowers (Art MFA 92), John Burtle (Art BFA 08), Fiona Connor (Art MFA 11), Cranston, Travis Diehl (Art/Critical Studies 10), Mark Hagen (Art MFA 02), Dashiell Manley (Art BFA 07), Alice Könitz (Art MFA 99), Suzanne Lacy (Art MFA 73), Allen Ruppersberg (Chouinard 67), Laura Owens (Art MFA 94) and Brian Roettinger (Art BFA 04), as well as Dean of the School of Art Thomas Lawson and CalArts President Steven D. Lavine.
The performance is a nod to Baldessari Sings Lewitt, the 1972 performance wherein the artist sang Sol LeWitt’s text, Thirty-Five Statements on Conceptual Art, to the tune of popular songs. According to Baldessari, the purpose of singing the text is to help the sentences “escape” and therefore reach a wider audience.
In that spirit, ForYourArt plans to share, via social media (@foryourart), Baldessari’s List of Art Ideas for 1st Class of CalArts, Post Studio (If They Have No Ideas of Their Own from which to Make a Piece) from 1970, in which he suggests several classroom art-making ideas. Everyone is invited to use his list of ideas and tag their work with #BackAtchaBaldi.
Baldessari, Cranston and Obrist will sign copies of More Than You Wanted to Know About John Baldessari after the event.