“I will not make any more boring art” – John Baldessari
Statement for exhibition:
John Baldessari cremated every painting he made from 1953 to 1966 in the landmark 1970 work “Cremation Project”. He calls this an act to “rid my life of accumulated art….It is a reductive, recycling piece. I consider all these paintings a body of work in the real sense of the word. Will I save my life by losing it? Will a Phoenix arise from the ashes? Will the paintings having become dust become materials again? I don’t know, but I feel better.”
“I will not make any more boring art” became the mantra (and punishment) of John Baldessari for the next 5 decades as he continued to create groundbreaking work.
John Baldessari died Jan 2, 2020.
When I heard the news, I was busy in the winter break preparing for my New Media class which launched just a week later. I had solid assignments going in to the class, and every intention of teaching a very “traditional” (whatever that means) New Media course on E-Textiles. But the death of John Baldessari absolutely floored me, and I threw out my curriculum, burning it in a ritual cremation.
I came in the first day of my class and presented my students with his work and the final phrase “I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art”.
This was the only requirement for the class. Burn everything you’ve made before. Begin anew. Do not make boring art.
Summer of 2020, at the peak of COVID-19 and just after a tornado had wrecked the city of Jonesboro, my New Media students at Arkansas State University held a digital exhibition of work in a virtual recreation of the Bradbury Art Museum.
I designed the virtual space for the Bradbury Art Museum 2020 BFA Thesis Exhibitions, and leaned on my experience from Paper-Thin to rapidly produce the accurate space in Unity.