Left: John Baldessari, Noses & Ears, Etc.: Blood, Fist, and Head (with Nose and Ear), 2006, three-dimensional digital print with acrylic paint, 43 1/4 x 52“. Right: John Baldessari, Kiss/Panic, 1984, gelatin silver prints with oil tint, mounted to board, in eleven parts, 80 x 72”.


Relentlessly innovative and influential over the course of a five-decades-long career, John Baldessari (b. 1931) was a progenitor of conceptual art and among the first to explore the possibilities and implications of appropriation—constantly isolating and re-cropping images from television and film both to underline the elasticity of their meaning in changing contexts.

On the occasion of his traveling retrospective, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through January 9, 2011, as well as his solo exhibitions at Marian Goodman Gallery in New York (through December 4) and the Fondazione Prada in Milan (through December 26), the artist sat down with Artforum editor-at-large Tim Griffin to discuss themes and techniques, explaining, among other things, how he arrived at such signature blocking devices as his red, yellow, and blue dots.


John Baldessari speaks with Tim Griffin.