SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
presents the exhibition John Baldessari: Class Assignments, (Optional) from January 19 through March 31, 2012, in the Logan Galleries of California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco. It is free and open to the public.
The exhibition features works by 70 students in CCAs Graduate Program in Fine Arts. The works are responses to a series of notes/instructions provided by John Baldessari, who first used the notes in 1970, when he was a professor at California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts). That original course was titled Cal Arts Post Studio Art: Class Assignments (optional), 1970. The notes instruct the students to, for instance, Imitate Baldessari in actions and speech. Video; Disguise an object to look like another object; or Develop a visual code. Give it to another student to crack.
The project and exhibition reflect Baldessaris ongoing interest in pedagogical and conceptual approaches to art making. Many of his most important works of the 1970s, such as Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts) from 1973, were produced using similar strategies. Baldessaris other long-standing strategies and interests include arbitrary games, experimentation and iteration, the exploitation of rule-based systems and linguistic structures, and the defiance of arbitrarily imposed limits to find new solutions to problems.
John Baldessari was born in National City, California, in 1931 and lives and works in Santa Monica and Venice, California. He received a BA (1953) and an MA (1957) from San Diego State College, spent time at University of California at Berkeley and University of California Los Angeles, and then continued his studies at Otis Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute (195759). Baldessari has received several honorary doctorates, most recently from California College of the Arts (2011) and the National University of Ireland, Burren College of Art (2006). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008. He has participated in Documenta (1982, 1972); the Venice Biennale (2009, 2003,1997); and seven Whitney Biennials, most recently in 2008. His work has been shown in more than 120 solo exhibitions and 300 group exhibitions. He was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2009.
A major retrospective entitled Pure Beauty, which spans five decades of Baldessaris work, toured between 2009 and 2011 through the Tate Modern, London; the Museu dArt Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA); and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).