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John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art

Video transcript

I will not make any more boring art I will not make any more boring art this is repeated over and over again down the length of the sheet of paper and originally down the length of a wall in column after column clearly this is like a school room punishment I will remember to do my homework written over and over and over again we're talking about a work of art that was made by an artist whose name is John Baldessari that was made in 1971 first in the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design this is basically a form we already know we know it as a school room punishment so how is it transformed into art well I think that the idea that it was in a gallery that context was really important to the artist he actually has spoken about how he takes his word images and makes them on canvas to give them that frame of reference so yeah this is different than if it was on a blackboard in a school let's see about the words for a second because it's not I will not speak out in class it's I will not make any more boring art itself punishing he's looking at his career and saying I made some bad art and in the future I'm not going to make any more bad art and he had parent Leah rigidly written the sentence in his own private notebook and that was the genesis of this but I think it's important to understand this within the broader context of his early career so Baldassare had been taught I think like so many art students to create in a kind of abstract expressionist style so we're talking here about Mark Rothko about Jackson Pollock artists who were making but I think of as very serious art in the 1950s what this artist did was in 1970 to gather up all of the canvases that he owned of his own work these were abstractions there were landscapes and then together with some friends and some art students of his he brought them to a crematorium and he had them burned like we burn bodies and then he took the ashes and he put them in earn and this was a way of creating I think a really stark rupture in his career between this older style and his mature much more conceptually oriented work there is a way in which art was painting still even in the 1960s to make art you painted in I will not make any more boring arts labeling that this boring and saying I'm going to do something different going forward but even using the word boring is hilarious and off limits try because you know in the serious nomenclature of the art world you don't use words like boring and so there's a kind of directness and a kind of humor it's incorporated in this kind of deep irony and you can see that as an artist the real challenge would be what is interesting art what does it mean to make art that sincere and engaging and clever and new it was also about the qualities of new conceptual art if you think about for instance the work but people like saw the wit where there's a kind of cool clarity which is also at the same time boring although you're not allowed to say that and so there's something wonderfully ironic but also irreverent about this you