Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Art History

Reader 1

Mary MacNaughton

Reader 2

Bill Anthes

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Rights Information

© 2012 Jennie Waldow

Abstract

Visually, Baldessari’s art mirrors the schoolroom chart, the cinematic storyboard, the Surrealist collage, the sensationalist graphics of the tabloid, and the grid format of the textbook. Black and white photography, performance, collage, bright prints, film, drawing, and painting: Baldessari has done it all. The artist has consistently demonstrated an inventiveness and sense of play in his work, and it is unlikely that he would stick to any one mode of artmaking for an extended period of time. It is probable that the explicit critique of contemporary Conceptualists of the text paintings mellowed because Baldessari had moved on to new questions. While he continues to examine the trope of the artistic outsider despite his commercial success, it is always with a wink. As Baldessari’s use of his own image in Portrait (Self) demonstrates, he has encouraged his audience to interrogate any artistic self-representation as a purposeful construct. Unlike the majority of his fellow Conceptualists, Baldessari’s serious goals are couched in a selfmocking attitude and in the colorful, playful style he has made his own.

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