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Minor Canon

John Baldessari I will not make any more boring art tote

Regular price £17.00 GBP
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John Baldessari (1931 – 2020) was an American conceptual artist known for his work featuring found photography and appropriated images. He lived and worked in Santa Monica and Venice, California. Initially a painter, Baldessari began to incorporate texts and photography into his canvases in the mid-1960s. In 1970 he began working in printmaking, film, video, installation, sculpture and photography. He created thousands of works which demonstrate—and, in many cases, combine—the narrative potential of images and the associative power of language within the boundaries of the work of art.

The print on this tote bag is based on an installation created at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1971 by John Baldessari...but not by Baldessari’s own hand. “As there wasn’t enough money for me to travel to Nova Scotia, I proposed that the students voluntarily write ‘I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art’ on the walls of the gallery, like punishment. To my surprise they covered the walls.” Those same students made this print, but Baldessari wasn’t at the workshop when the print was made. In both cases, Baldessari gave scant instructions to the students from thousands of miles away, and he was not present to supervise: a delegated performance.

Baldessari points out that language has made-up rules that we all agree to follow. Conventional notions of art may be as ingrained, passed down, and unquestioned as rules of language, but artists like Baldessari aimed to show that they are equally arbitrary, and open to interpretation. Baldesssari described his conceptual works as “what I thought art should be, not what somebody else would think art would be. You know, received wisdom, what you would get in school. And so a lot of my work was about questioning this received wisdom.”

• Light and thin material
• 100% organic cotton
• Monochromatic look
• Open main compartment with wide bottom
• Fabric weight: 5.01 oz/yd² (170 g/m²)
• Product dimensions: 14″ × 15 ¾″ × 2 ¾″ (36 cm × 40 cm × 7 cm)
• Blank product components sourced from India