John Baldessari in His Studio, Venice, California, 2005
John Baldessari in His Studio, Venice, California, 2005. Photograph by Catherine Opie.

About the Artist

John Baldessari was born in 1931 in National City, California. He received a BA and MA from San Diego State University and completed postgraduate work at both Otis Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute.

For more than six decades, Baldessari created a body of work that demonstrated—and, in many cases, combined—the narrative potential of images and the associative power of language within the confines of art. He continually explored these themes in painting, photography, film, video, site-specific installations, artist’s books, sculpture, drawings, prints, and multiples.

Since 1953, Baldessari’s work has been featured in over one thousand solo and group exhibitions around the world. He has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, including those organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, in 1981; the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, Spain, in 1989; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 1990; Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK, in 1995; the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, and Kunsthaus Graz, in 2005; Tate Modern and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in 2009; and Museo Jumex, Mexico City, in 2017.

As a teacher from 1970 to 1988 at the California Institute of the Arts, and from 1996 to 2007 at the University of California, Los Angeles, Baldessari instructed and influenced generations of artists.

Baldessari died on January 2, 2020, in Venice, California.

For an extensive biography of the artist, please visit