John Baldessari

I Am Making Art


Werk - I Am Making Art
Artist / Artist group
John Baldessari
I Am Making Art
video, Analog video
Material / Technique
Betacam SP, b/w, mono
Dimensions / Duration
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien

“I am making art,” the artist repeats countless times in a monotone voice while moving parts of his body somewhat clumsily and repeatedly pausing briefly in a pose. The black-and-white video shows John Baldessari in a white shirt and black pants, looking frontally into the camera and performing these strange-looking movements in front of a white wall; the picture is cropped in such a way that the feet are not visible.

Baldessari, who is considered an early representative of conceptual art in the USA, decided to abandon painting in the late 1960s and began working with text, videos, and photography. Typical of Baldessari’s early conceptual work, this video piece is characterized by a dry humor. The artist makes an ironic allusion to the use of the body in the context of action and performance art, which were burgeoning at the time, and also satirizes the notion that every action of the artist must be considered an artistic expression.

The video was recorded using a contemporary recording system called a Sony Portapak. This affordable and easy-to-use battery-powered video camera, which went on the market in 1967 in the USA, quickly became a popular tool for artists to produce video works easily.

Author: Anna-Maria Drago Jekal

About the artist/s