Links to the World: John Baldessari

Tartu Art Museum opened the exhibition „Links to the World: John Baldessari“ on the evening of 23 August 2018. The fourth edition in the international video series „Links to the World“ focuses on the American artist John Baldessari (b 1931) and his conceptual video art. The exhibition will be open until 30 September 2018.

John Baldessari’s conceptual art is characterised by his interest in the theory of contemporary art including the questions “what can be art” and “what and how is communicated to the viewer by the art”. Baldessari began his artistic career at the beginning of the 1960s when his works were based on gestural painting. Already by the end of the decade, he had started using textual and visual (mostly photographic) elements and soon printmaking as a method was introduced. He is still using the same means of expression but throughout his career Baldessari has experimented with various media.

Baldessari’s 1971 video work „I Am Making Art“ challenges the definition of art both conceptually and technically. Being a conceptual artist, Baldessari uses ironic humour to approach the idea that everything can be art. However, this method also serves as a proof of the idea. Associations and contradictions with the painting exhibitions on display in Tartu Art Museum are created by the fact that Baldessari, who had begun as a painter, along with five friends burned all their earlier paintings in 1970. It took place as part of The Cremation Project and the ashes of the art works were used to make cookies.

The exhibition series „Links to the World“ introduces video works by renowned international artists. The series started in 2017 and it has previously included works by Vito Acconci, Martha Rosler and Leslie Thornton.


Links to the World: John Baldessari 24.08.2018–30.09.2018

Curator: Joanna Hoffmann

Graphic design: Viktor Gurov

Exhibition team: Hanna-Liis Kont, Maria Johanna Kull, Jaanika Kuznetsova, Kristlyn Liier, Peeter Talvistu, Urmo Teekivi

Thanks: Baldessari Studio, Electronic Arts Intermix

The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.


Exhibition views



H. Caune “Baldessari in Tartu. Express interview with curator Joanna Hoffmann” – Arterritory, 22.09.2018