Open Today 10am-9pm

Click Here for Kusama Reservations

John Baldessari: California Dreaming

May 5, 2021 

- August 15, 2021

Located in the Lawson Print Gallery

John Baldessari: California Dreaming

May 5, 2021 

- August 15, 2021

Located in the Lawson Print Gallery

The highly influential California artist and teacher, John Baldessari, was an obsessive collector of images from magazines, newspapers, and film stills. He recombined these images to create fascinating compositions whose narratives the artist wanted the viewer to interpret. Baldessari would often obscure, with circles of primary colors, certain key elements of the narrative making interpretation more difficult. Meaning becomes secondary in Baldessari’s work. What matters most is how the artist could take disparate elements and turn them into art that is formally balanced and pleasing to the eye. His work, especially when presented in an exhibition like California Dreaming, is just fun to look at. Trying to puzzle out the meaning is icing on the cake.

The exhibition includes important loans from collections in San Antonio and Austin as well as a recently acquired Baldessari titled French Horn Player (With Three Contexts—One Uncoded) of 1994. This is the first time this work has been on public view at the McNay.

John Baldessari: California Dreaming is organized for the McNay Art Museum by Lyle W. Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Curator of Modern Art.

Image: John Baldessari, Nine Feet (of Victim and Crowd) Arranged by Position in Scene from Violent Space Series, 1976. Photographs on board. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Bequest of Robert H. Halff. © John Baldessari
John Baldessari, French Horn Player (With Three Contexts-One Uncoded) from A French Horn Player, A Square Blue Moon, and Other Subjects, 1994. Lithograph and screenprint. Gift of Jane Stieren Lacy. © John Baldessari