John Baldessari
The End of the Line

07/17— 11/18/24
Gallery 3, Floor 1

First South American survey devoted to John Baldessari (United States, 1931-2020), the great pioneer of conceptual art. The exhibition features a selection of 45 works, spanning paintings, photographs and installations drawn from the collection of Craig Robins – a friend, promoter, close interlocutor and one of the most important collectors of Baldessari's work.

John Baldessari: The End of the Line reviews 50 years of the artist's work organized in four thematic groupings by Karen Grimson, curator of the Craig Robins Collection. The exhibition highlights Baldessari’s foundational works from the 1960s and '70s; the radical incineration of his own work; his serial approach to photography; and his ongoing exploration of the interplay between imagery and language, between the world of text and that of ideas.

Baldessari started his artistic career in the field of painting, and in the mid-1960s he began to incorporate texts and photographs into his canvases, questioning the limits of painting, and the authorial notion of the work of art. Starting in 1970, after cremating the paintings made between 1953 and 1966, he began to work in film, video, installation, and continued to develop his photographic practice, in works that explore the narrative connotations of images in tandem with the associative potential of language. Baldessari is recognized for his enormous influence on generations of artists through decades of teaching at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California, Los Angeles.

In August 1974, the Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAYC) organized Baldessari's first exhibition in Argentina, presenting the artist's book Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts) (1973). Fifty years later, the presentation of Craig Robins Collection at Malba offers an integral perspective of the artist's development, incorporating the original images from that book into the broader context of his exceptional career.

Organized in collaboration with the Craig Robins Collection. Curated by Karen Grimson.

About the Craig Robins Collection

The Craig Robins Collection brings together a significant cluster of contemporary art and design, and includes works by the Latin American artists Guillermo Kuitca, Jorge Macchi, Jac Lierner, Tunga, Gabriel Orozco, Abraham Cruzvillegas, and Jill Mulleady, among others. Located in Miami, in the southern United States, the Collection is exhibited at Dacra's offices in the Miami Design District, with annual thematic exhibitions. Dacra’s CEO and real estate developer, Robins began collecting the work of John Baldessari in 1993, following his interest in the work of artists who had been students of Baldessari (David Salle and Mike Kelley, among others). In the next two decades, Robins acquired nearly fifty works by Baldessari, and developed a close friendship with the artist. In 2014, Baldessari created two public artworks, Fun (Parts 1, 2), commissioned by Robins for the Miami Design District. Following Baldessari's death, Robins organized a posthumous exhibition in 2021 as a tribute, showcasing Baldessari's sketches, projects, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and collages at Dacra's offices.


In conjunction with the exhibition, Malba will produce a bilingual monographic catalog in both Spanish and English, featuring color reproductions of all the works on display. Providing an interpretation of John Baldessari's oeuvre from a Latin American perspective, the publication will include an essay by curator Karen Grimson, and contributions by artists David Lamelas, Dorit Cypis, Alejandro Cesarco and Analía Sabán, as well as an illustrated chronology of the artist's career.

John Baldessari

United States, 1931-2020

John Baldessari was born in National City, California, 11 miles from the United States-Mexico border. He began his artistic career in the field of painting after studying art in San Diego State College. In 1966, he started incorporating texts and photographs into his canvases, launching the series of text-paintings in which he distanced himself, for the first time, from the manual autography traditionally associated with art. In his 1970 Cremation Project, he incinerated most of his paintings in a local San Diego mortuary, distinguishing his early production from his mature body of work–a gesture of reinvention that he reiterated the following year with I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art (1971).
Through a multidisciplinary practice encompassing video works, printmaking, collage, installation, sculpture, and photography, he developed an investigation into the narrative nature of the figure, and the associative potential of language, through the juxtaposition of text and image. Baldessari is recognized for the profound influence he had on generations of artists over the course of five decades of teaching in California. In 1970, he began teaching at the newly founded CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), where he offered his renowned Post-Studio Art course until 1988. Between 1996 and 2005, he continued his pedagogical career at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles).

Images. Banner: Two Lamps; Three Persons (one with gun), 1997 [detail]. Lead: From the series Throwing a Ball Once to Get Three Melodies and Fifteen Chords, 1975.

Courtesy: ©️ John Baldessari 1975; Estate of John Baldessari ©️ 2024; John Baldessari Family Foundation; Sprüth Magers.

Related Activities

Viernes 9 de agosto de 18:00 a 20:00. Biblioteca

Clase presencial + virtual

John Cage y la literatura: ¿qué escribía, qué leía?

Para John Cage había una continuidad entre componer y escribir. Sobre este aspecto se trabajará en esta clase organizada en el marco de la exposición El fin de la línea de John Baldessari.

Por Martín Bauer
Viernes 9 de agosto de 18:00 a 20:00. Biblioteca

Jueves 22 de agosto a las 18:00. Sala 3


Baldessari para piano

En este concierto, Lucas Urdampilleta interpretará "Throwing a Ball Once to Get Three Melodies and Fifteen Chords" de John Baldessari, junto a obras de John Cage, Christian Wolff y Morton Feldman.

Por Lucas Urdampilleta
Jueves 22 de agosto a las 18:00. Sala 3

Miércoles 17 de julio a las 18:00. Biblioteca


Baldessari al sur

En el marco de la exposición John Baldessari. El fin de la línea, la artista Analía Saban conversará con Karen Grimson, curadora de la Colección Craig Robins, sobre el legado y la influencia de John Baldessari en su obra.

Participan: Analía Saban y Karen Grimson
Miércoles 17 de julio a las 18:00. Biblioteca