John Baldessari


John Baldessari (1931-2020) is an American Conceptual artist known for his pioneering use of appropriated imagery. He received a BA (1953) and MA (1957) from San Diego State College, continuing his studies at Otis Art Institute (1957–59) and Chouinard Art Institute. By blending photography, painting, and text, Baldessari’s work examines the plastic nature of artistic media while offering commentary on our contemporary culture. Through a diverse practice that includes paintings, sculpture, and installations, the artist shaped the Conceptual Art landscape alongside Joseph Kosuth and Hans Haacke, garnering early acclaim for his signature use of colorful dots atop photographic images. 


Baldessari has received several honorary doctorates, the most recent from the National University of Ireland, Burren College of Art (2006). He has participated in Documenta (1982, 1978); the Venice Biennale (2003, 1997); and seven Whitney Biennial exhibitions, most recently in 2008. His work has been shown in more than 120 solo exhibitions and 300 group exhibitions. A major retrospective appeared at Tate Modern, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2009–10. John Baldessari was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2007. He lives and works in Santa Monica, California.


Related Works

  • In our sister gallery, form & concept, fiber artist Jodi Colella similarly appropriates vintage tintypes, photographs, and postcards in order to reclaim them as canvases for her hand-stitched scenes. View her work.

  • For more vibrant photographic prints of cities and landscapes, see the collected works of conceptual artist and world-traveler Tony Soulie. View his work.