In celebration of the forthcoming fifth season of Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century, broadcasting this October on PBS, each week we bring you a video clip from a featured artist’s segment. Up next is artist John Baldessari. Read a detailed explanation of Baldessari’s work back on Art21’s blog here.
Synthesizing photomontage, painting, and language, John Baldessari’s deadpan visual juxtapositions equate images with words and illuminate, confound, and challenge meaning. “What’s a system?” he asks. “Not so much structure that it’s inhibiting or that there’s no wiggle room, but not so loose that it could be anything. It’s like a corral around your idea, a corral that you can move—but not too much. And it’s that limited movement that promotes creativity. Did I just say something profound?”
This video is excerpted from the Season 5 episode Systems, premiering on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 10pm (ET) on PBS (check local listings). Systems features four artists—Baldessari, Kimsooja, Allan McCollum, and Julie Mehretu—who invent new grammars and logics, finding comfort in some systems while rebelling against others in today’s supercharged, information-based society.