John Baldessari. I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art. 1971

John Baldessari I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art 1971

  • Not on view

In July of 1970, disillusioned with the state of painting in the 1960s, John Baldessari burned many of his early landscapes and abstractions. By then he had abandoned the painterly conventions he found alienating and was making canvases using photographs and texts. Works like I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, his first print, demonstrate his thinking at the time and his developing interest in Conceptual art. Created at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in conjunction with an unconventional exhibition, it depicts a sentence that Baldessari instructed students to write on the gallery walls "like punishment." He was not present at the "exhibition," nor at the workshop where the print was made. He simply sent a handwritten page to be reproduced and made a videotape of himself writing the sentence.

Such activities were typical of this school's experimental program in the 1970s. Its lithography workshop, in particular, served to broaden the scope of printmaking by inviting artists like Baldessari, Vito Acconci, Dennis Oppenheim, and others to explore its potential for Conceptual art projects.

Baldessari has gone on to make about ninety prints, primarily in his signature photo-collage style. An example of his collages, made from stills of old B-movies superimposed with geometric shapes, is seen here in an illustration for a special edition of Tristram Shandy. This spread is part of an accordion-folded volume of his illustrations commissioned by Andrew Hoyem of The Arion Press. When Hoyem learned of Baldessari's interest in Laurence Sterne's novel of 1760, he invited him to participate in a new publication that matches Sterne's disregard for plot and punctuation with the artist's own disjointed imagery. The project also includes a volume of the complete text with all its eccentricities intact, and another containing a critical essay.

Publication excerpt from an essay by Raimond Livasgani, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 188.
Medium
Lithograph
Dimensions
composition: 22 3/8 x 29 9/16" (56.8 x 75.1 cm); sheet: 22 7/16 x 30 1/16" (57 x 76.4 cm)
Publisher
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax
Printer
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Lithography Workshop, Halifax
Edition
50
Credit
John B. Turner Fund
Object number
1.1972
Copyright
© 2018 John Baldessari
Department
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.