Tuesday, December 21, 2010

John Baldessari, Wrong, 1966-8

"Baldessari’s violation of [a] rule is less a gesture of rebellion or artistic independence—who cares if someone takes an 'incorrect' snapshot?—than an inquiry into the nature and authority of artistic rule-making. There is nothing particularly 'good' or 'bad' about Baldessari’s picture. It is the construct he chose for the purpose at hand, and as such it has as much validity as it needs to have to fulfill the purpose at hand. As with many conceptual art pieces, the artwork itself is a commentary on some aspect of art or art theory, in this case on conventional notions of what constitutes a 'good' or 'correct' work of art. The title Wrong is intended to be ironic: a basic tenet of modern art and the revolutionary avant-garde movements in which modernism was born is that there are no inviolable rules or universal standards when it comes to making, conceiving, or judging art. What is 'wrong' in one context may be perfectly serviceable in another."

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