This week at The L Magazine I discuss John Baldessari’s solo show at The Met. The teaser,
There are a lot of reasons to visit Pure Beauty, the John Baldessari retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through January 9), but viewing famous pieces like “I Am Making Art” (1971) in the flesh isn’t one of them. It looks almost exactly like it does on YouTube—a black-and-white video of Baldessari taking various poses as he repeats the work’s title—only displayed on a TV monitor. These days the piece seems almost incomplete without all the YouTube response videos.
Needless to say, locating art’s aura isn’t particularly important to Baldessari’s work. It’s not filled with its own self-importance and mostly seeks to engage the viewer in the mechanics of what they see. It helps that he’s funny too. These characteristics were visible in most of the works on show in an exhibition perhaps best described as a 50-year investigation into how to make, select and view art.
To read the full piece click here.