January 19, 2012 - CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts - John Baldessari: Class Assignments, (Optional)
January 19, 2012

John Baldessari: Class Assignments, (Optional)

John Baldessari
Class Assignments, (Optional)

January 19–March 31, 2012

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
California College of the Arts
Kent and Vicki Logan Galleries
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107-2247

T 415.551.9210


In May 2011, John Baldessari was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from California College of the Arts for his extraordinary contributions to both art education and the development of art over the past 50 years. In response to this, the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts developed a new exhibition with the artist, which opens on January 19, 2012, reflecting Baldessari’s interest in pedagogical approaches to art as well as his own conceptual approach to art making.

John Baldessari: Class Assignments, (Optional) will feature work by CCA students in the Graduate Program in Fine Arts as they respond to a series of art-making instructions provided by Baldessari. The instructions are based on Baldessari’s teaching notes from his time as a professor at California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) in Valencia, during which he taught the course Cal Arts Post Studio Art: Class Assignments, (optional), 1970. The CCA students will interpret his instructions, such as “Imitate Baldessari in actions and speech. Video,” or “Disguise an object to look like another object,” and their resulting works will be presented in the Wattis exhibition.

John Baldessari: Class Assignments, (Optional) extends Baldessari’s predilection for the structure of languages and arbitrary games, which have been key elements in his most salient conceptual works since the 1970s. Additionally, the exhibition will exemplify many of the strategies used by Baldessari such as experimentation, the use of rule-based systems, and the defiance of arbitrarily imposed limits to find new solutions to problems.

About John Baldessari
John Baldessari was born in National City, California, in 1931 and lives and works in Santa Monica, California. His work has been shown in more than 200 solo exhibitions and more than 1,000 group exhibitions. Baldessari was also awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2009. A major retrospective entitled Pure Beauty, which spans five decades of his work, toured between 2009 and 2011 through Tate Modern, London, the Museu d’Art Contemporain (MACBA), Barcelona, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles.

About CCA’s Graduate Program in Fine Arts
Central to CCA’s Graduate Program in Fine Arts curriculum is the idea that developing a sustained, critical practice is an essential part of creating a dynamic career as a professional artist. Our MFA program helps students to gain a deeper understanding of their own ideas and practice, to gain greater awareness of the global context of contemporary art, and to develop the skills in presentation needed to pursue a career in the visual arts. For more information, visit cca.edu/finearts.

About the CCA Wattis Institute
The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established in 1998 in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. It serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the Wattis Institute has become one of the leading art institutions in the United States and an active site for contemporary culture in the Bay Area. For more information about the Wattis Institute, visit wattis.org.

About California College of the Arts
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is noted for the interdisciplinarity and breadth of its programs. It offers studies in 21 undergraduate and seven graduate majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of fine arts, and master of business administration degrees. With campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, CCA currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students. Noted alumni include the painters Nathan Oliveira and Raymond Saunders; the ceramicists Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the filmmaker Wayne Wang; the conceptual artists David Ireland and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas and Michael Vanderbyl. For more information about CCA, visit cca.edu.

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
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