A Brief History of John Baldessari, Narrated by Tom Waits

Tom Waits narrates this whimsical, fast-moving introduction to the life and work of West-Coast conceptual artist John Baldessari. The film was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the creative team behind Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3. It was made for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s inaugural Art & Film Gala, held last November in honor of Baldessari and Clint Eastwood. Baldessari mixes a variety of media in his art, including sculpture, painting, printmaking and video. “His work,” writes Elisabeth Roark of Grove Art Online, “is characterized by a consciousness of language evident in his use of puns, semantics based on the structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss and by the incorporation of material drawn from popular culture.” When Joost and Schulman ask Baldessari how he will be remembered 100 years hence, he says dryly, “I’m the guy who puts dots over people’s faces.”

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