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Baldessari and Ono win Golden Lions

February 24, 2009 |  4:29 pm

Baldessari_3Artists John Baldessari and Yoko Ono will be awarded Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement at this year's Venice Biennale. Cited as "two of the most important artists of our time," they will be honored on June 6 at the opening of the 53rd edition of the international contemporary art exhibition in Italy.

Yoko_ono_6 In a statement announcing the news, Daniel Birnbaum, director of the Biennale, said that the artists' "groundbreaking activities have opened new poetic, conceptual and social possibilities for artists around the globe working in all media" and that they "have shaped our understanding of art and its relationship to the world in which we live. Their work has revolutionized the language of art and will remain a source of inspiration for generations to come."

Baldessari, a native Californian who lives in Los Angeles, is an enormously influential conceptual artist and teacher who often combines images and text in sly commentaries on art in the real world. Ono, who was born in Japan and has been based in New York for many years, is a pioneering conceptualist and performance artist, probably best known for works that champion world peace.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Images: John Baldessari, left. Credit: David Livingston/Getty Images. Yoko Ono, right. Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg.

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