In NY a few weeks ago for some meetings, I carved out a few hours one afternoon to get over to the Met to the see new Baldessari show, as well as the final few days of the Starn Bros. Big Bambu.
The museum is totally overwhelming, both in its size, and in the spectrum of its work. Museums for me, are like restaurants. I have to be careful how much I consume — after a while I start to feel full, and the food loses its flavor.
I beelined for the Baldessari show, which took me about 20 minutes to locate in the maze of galleries stuffed with Warhols, Closes, DeKoonings, Rothkos, all the heavy hitters. It’s always a strange experience to see a painting up close after having seen it reproduced a million times elsewhere in a million formats.
The Baldessari show was amazing — I love the purity of his conceptual approach, and the simplicity of his work. It was like being in a room full of whimsical, tangible ideas, many of which make you laugh out loud:
JB is still making work at age 80, and has been since the 50’s. So the whole show just oozed dedication and lifelong commitment to his art. I especially like that he lived in National City, CA for a long time, taking periodic trips to NY / LA to see art, but staying mostly unfiltered by local scenes and influences.
There was an original JB print for sale in the gift shop, which seemed weird. And it was only $5k or so. For a second I entertained the thought of slapping it on the MasterCard…
Why I am so enamored with Mr. Baldessari? Because he’s known all along what many people never fully grasp — that it’s all about the idea.