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Artist John Baldessari asked Tom Waits to narrate his short history and it’s pretty funny, though I have no idea why anyone would brag about Baldessari’s iPhone app — which is pretty awful — though it does fit into the whole tone of the video.

The video was commissioned by LACMA for their first annual Art + Film Gala last year. The event honored John Baldessari and Clint Eastwood.

And who doesn’t love the fact that he knows that he will be remembered as the “guy who put dots over people’s faces.” And you better believe that I will be bookmarking his wifi password for future reference.

What are the three things Baldessari would tell a young artist?

  1. Talent is cheap.
  2. You have to be Possessed but you can’t will.
  3. Being at the right place at the right time.

Well said.

h/t Craig Platt via NY Mag

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

7 replies on “Video Candy: A History of John Baldessari as Narrated by Tom Waits”

  1. So much “art” in 5 minutes and 55 seconds. The film does say what a tremendous influence he’s been on a generation – or more – but what it doesn’t mention is that this is not only because of the power of his work, but also because of his generosity toward young artists.

    A video gem about a gem of the art world.

    1. I think the quote is actually “you have to be possessed which you can’t will.” which i take to mean that although talent might be cheap, the drive to make stuff isn’t, and you can’t invent that drive, it has to be there. i might interpret it that way b/c that’s what i’ve always thought, that the real ‘talent’ somewhat might possess is the hunger for exploring. you got that or you don’t. but i might be wrong in what he’s thinking, dunno.

  2. He made on hell of a lot of boring art. I have to remember to blame him more often.

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