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John Baldessari: Teaching at CalArts [Video]

October 7, 2011 |  1:30 pm

John Baldessari and early CalArts students
It's hard to imagine the L.A. art scene today without CalArts -- or its downtown satellite, REDCAT. But when John Baldessari was starting his career as an artist, the institution was still young and finding its way.

During his recent conversation at the Hammer Museum, Baldessari spoke about his years teaching at CalArts, emphasizing the laid-back, anti-authoritarian style that prevailed at the school during its early years. There were "no grades, no curriculum," and even a class in joint-rolling, he said. "If you liked structure in your life, that was not the place to go."

Baldessari began teaching at CalArts in the early '70s, having moved from the San Diego area. He would go on to become one of the top conceptual artists in the world, focusing on mixed-media creations that deconstructed artistic dogma of all kinds.

Here's a clip of Baldessari speaking with Times art critic Christopher Knight about his CalArts years ...



John Baldessari: Early years in Southern California [Video]

An online guide to Pacific Standard Time

Art review: "John Baldessari: Pure Beauty" @ LACMA

-- David Ng

Photo: Dede Bazyk, John Baldessari, Suzanne Kuffler, Matt Mullican and David Trout in a 1972 photograph of Baldessari and CalArts students engaged in a project called "Rolling: Tire." Credit: James Welling