A couple days ago I encountered an LA Times webpage entitled Tom Waits talks up artist John Baldessari in six-minute video. As I happened to have six extra minutes at that moment, I watched it. Fun stuff. Here's the YouTube link: A Brief History of John Baldessari .
Waits was apparently chosen because Baldessari likes his voice (and also possibly because the two came from the same hometown.) More than the voice, it's Waits' dry, wry delivery style that contributes so much. The video itself is a high energy assemblage: the artist as a talking head in his studio, pictures of the artist, his artworks, his stuff, places he's been and lots of moving text and graphic effects.
One quick bit of text (30 seconds in) says that Baldessari has been called "the Godfather of Conceptual Art" but with a telling, sophomoric, hysterical extra on-screen letter F which is conspicuously crossed out. Guy humor. Blink and you'll miss it.
(Go ahead, search Google for the phrase "Godfather of Conceptual Fart" to find out if anyone ever really said that about John Baldessari.)
The people who produced this video, no one I've heard of, are credited on the YouTube page.
directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (http://gosupermarche.com/)
edited by Max Joseph (http://www.maxjoseph.com/)
written by Gabriel Nussbaum (http://www.bankstreetfilms.com)
cinematography by Magdalena Gorka (http://magdalenagorka.com/) and Henry Joost
produced by Mandy Yaeger & Erin Wright
These people are really the reason I enjoyed it so much. The bouncy pacing, witty writing and irreverant attitude combine to be lots more interesting than John Baldessari's art or Tom Waits' voice. Rossini and Bizet don't hurt either. I especially like a great new cadential chord in William Tell (at 1'50").
There's also an apparent reason for the Clint Eastwood reference: this video was produced for a LACMA gala where Baldessari and Eastwood were both feted by rich and famous people, possibly ones with short attention spans.
Later in the film we learn that "John Baldessari believes that every young artist should know three things":
- Talent is cheap.
- You have to be possessed which you can't will.
- Being at the right place at the right time.
Of course, maybe I did hear it. And I just can't remember now.
A recent MM post about another LACMA art project: Floating Rocks.
If you prefer your art in the streets rather than in the museums by artists who don't allow their picture to be taken, here are two MM posts: Street Art Now and Then and Banksy Speaks.
Conceptual Fart Tags: John Baldessari. . . Tom Waits. . . video biography. . . LACMA