Wednesday, October 04, 2006

John Baldessari
A Painting by Jane Moore

"These paintings actually happened during my first year at UCSD, and from that time I owe a great deal to David Antin. I really felt like I'd met a person that had similarly crazy ideas as I had, and honestly believed in them. I had great conversations with him. And I remember once, walking from one building to another, we were talking about both of us having a fondness for amateur painters. I said, "You know, I really think some of these painters are pretty good, they're just showing in the wrong venues, and they're painting the wrong subject matter, but as painters, they're really not bad. I honestly have to say that." And then he shared my concern: having just done the works we discussed, those phototext and text paintings, I was in a frame of mind that I didn't need to physically do the paintings. I said I think I want to try to get other painters to do my paintings, because I don't think I have to do them.
So I'd go to county fairs - this art show, that art show. At the time, that was mostly where you saw art in San Diego. The La Jolla Museum of Art was the anomally. Then I began just writing down names. And certain names began to crop up for me, time and time again. the quality of their painting was so consistent. By then I had my little truck and I went around to see if it would work. I went to the first artist and said "For a fee, would you paint a painting on commission for me?" and I explained what I was going to do.
Then I had to find subject matter. I had just finished this other project where I was having a friend of mine, George Nicolaidis, walk around and point out the things in a visual field that jumped out at him. Again, I was exploring the impetus to do art - first you have to choose and select. As he pointed, I would photograph him in the act of documenting that, rather than writing it down. So I had all these slides with a sort of documentary nature to them. They weren't about beautiful composition; I was just recording the fact of something being selected. And so I decided to use those. So to each artist, I would bring about a dozen of those slides, although I had maybe seventy or so of them. And I'd say, "It doesn't matter to me, just choose one to paint."