"Cutting Ribbon, Man In Wheelchair, Paintings (Version #2), 1988" shows John Baldessari's signature technique, faces covered with colorful circles. The practice had its genesis when the artist idly stuck a price sticker on the face of someone pictured in a newspaper clipping.
Credit Courtesy the artist/John Baldessari Studio
In 1970, John Baldessari burned everything he had painted between 1953 and 1966. "I said ... 'I don't really need them.' So I decided I'll just destroy them." After that, Baldessari turned to photography and sculpture.
Credit Hedi Slimane / Courtesy the artist
"Pure Beauty," shown here at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2010, is one of John Baldessari's many provocative "text paintings."
Contemporary art is a lot like baseball: you can't really enjoy it until you understand a few rules. Nobody, not even the hippest art insider, is born appreciating abstract expressionism or conceptual performance. In fact, no two people will give you the same definition of contemporary art. It can be anything, from abstract painting to live performance.
With her stylish clothing and regal bearing, art educator and curator Yoko Ott looks like she was born in one of the world's great art capitals. But appearances are deceiving. "It doesn't get further away from the contemporary art scene than a little island in the middle of the Pacific," she laughs.