John Baldessari: Rules of Living
Interview by Andrea Blanch
Let’s start with your series, Crowds with the Shape of Reason Missing. Can you speak about how this came to be? Why did you choose those particular images? Does the series have any political references?
Okay. Working backwards, I don’t think any political stuff was involved. At the time, I was influenced by a book called The Shape of Crowds written by a famous Vietnamese psychiatrist. I liked the idea that crowds have a certain shape. So I had a lot of movie photographs of crowd scenes, and I just blanked out the middle--painted out the middle; it looks like what I thought was attracting the crowd. And that was it. Of course there are no more authentic crowd scenes in film anymore, they’re all digitalized.
That’s intriguing. Your use of crowds in Hegel’s Cellar was fantastic.
Yeah, and I had a reason for doing that…and I forget what it was, so I can’t tell you. [both laugh] I figured I was interested in Hegel at the time, but I don’t know why I decided to do prints. I can’t tell you.