John Baldessari awarded the Kaiserring
||“I will not make any more boring art.” Over and over again, John Baldessari wrote this promise on paper in a video
he made in 1971. And he’s remained true to his pledge: to this day, the
American artist has been creating a body of work that investigates the
nature of imagery in a variety of new ways. Now, the 81-year-old artist
has been awarded the Kaiserring for being one of the most influential artists of our time.
In 1975, the seal ring with the aquamarine, engraved with a portrait of Emperor Henry IV, was awarded for the first time, to the British sculptor Henry Moore.
Since that time, the Kaiserring has become one of the most renowned
awards for contemporary art worldwide. Numerous artists represented in
the Deutsche Bank Collection have also received the honor — for instance Joseph Beuys, Max Bill, Cindy Sherman, William Kentridge, and Rosemarie Trockel, who was awarded the Kaiserring last year.
his photographic works, books, performances, and videos, Baldessari
investigates everyday clichés and the mass media. He combines image and
text to create new contexts of meaning. He often uses found material,
such as stills from old movies, or magazine photos that he then alters
by painting over them. Included in this group are the commissioned
works for the Deutsche Guggenheim, which he completed in 2004. The title of the thirteen-part series, Somewhere Between Almost Right and Not Quite (with Orange),
could almost be considered a motto for his life work: since the
beginning of his career, Baldessari has always existed “somewhere in
between”: between Pop and Conceptual Art, between painting,
photography, prints and drawings, and film. The fact that humor plays
an important role in his artistic universe can already be seen in a video from 1972, in which Baldessari sings Sol Lewitt’s theses on conceptual art to the tunes of popular melodies. A current example is the short film A Brief History of John Baldessari.
In the roughly six-minute film, he sums up the artist’s work in a
casual, yet laconic manner — and proves that you can still be pretty
young, even if you’re 81.