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John Baldessari: The artist who cremated his own paintings

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One day in 1970, the Californian artist John Baldessari looked back over the paintings he had done over a period of almost two decades.

And he decided to burn them all.

Baldessari had begun his career in the 1950s by sticking to tradition. He was in his twenties, and he was still figuring out who he was as an artist and, most importantly, who he wanted to be. The result was an inventory of relatively traditional semi-abstract paintings.

Rather than doing what most artists do and simply storing them away, he gathered them up, took them to a crematorium in nearby San Diego, and had the entire lot destroyed.

The ashes filled 10 large boxes – some of which were stored in a book-shaped urn, engraved with his name, which then lived on his bookshelf for the rest of his life. Baldessari combined some of the other ashes with cookie dough, and the resulting cookies were exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

“To be creative you have to have destruction quite often too,” Baldessari would tell an interviewer years later. “It’s like the idea of a phoenix rising from the ashes.”

In honour of the old artworks, he placed a death notice in a local newspaper.

Just a year later, he declared to the world: “I will not make any more boring art.”

John Baldessari died on 2 January, aged 88, having kept that promise.

Baldessari was born on 17 June 1931 in National City, California, just a few miles from Tijuana on the Mexican border.

He studied art and art education in San Diego, and was almost immediately drawn to teaching – taking up teaching posts at a junior high school, a community college, and then University of California, San Diego. He even spent a summer teaching art to teenagers at a camp for juvenile offenders run by the local authority.

Baldessari had already begun experimenting with new art forms before the cremation in 1970 – including paintings that were text-based, or combined text and image.

For example, he printed an intentionally bad photograph on to a canvas, with nothing but the word “WRONG” written underneath it.

In another work, Tips For Artists Who Want to Sell, he painted his deadpan advice for creating commercially appealing artwork – including tips such as, “paintings with light colours sell more quickly than paintings with dark colours”.

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In summer 1970, after the cremation day, he began teaching a course at CalArts on “post-studio art” – that is, art beyond the studio.

As well as teaching, it was there that he started making experimental videos – including the now-famous short film of himself writing “I will not make any more boring art” over and over again on a ruled notebook.

But as conceptual art developed a reputation for being cerebral (that is, code for impenetrable), Baldessari injected humour into his work – sometimes by riffing off other conceptual artists, such as Sol LeWitt.

“The first thing you would say about John is that he was hilarious,” curator Kate Fowle tells the BBC.

“He took his job as an artist very seriously – but he didn’t take art seriously. He didn’t take the art world seriously. He understood what it was, of course, but his joy was… well, he used to say to people, ‘just go out and look at art – it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, just go and look, something will resonate in the end’.”

As well as being hilarious, she adds, he was tall. Very tall.

According to artist David Salle, one of Baldessari’s friends and CalArts students in the 1970s, he was 6’7″ – something that, for a long time, earned him “the distinction of being the tallest serious artist in the world”.

In the 1980s, he began working with photo collages – in particular, old Hollywood movie stills and photographs from newspapers.

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One such photograph, Ms Fowle recalls, was a film noir still. In it, a beautiful woman reclined on the beach, calmly reading a book. Baldessari’s text caption beneath this serene image? “Learn to read.”

He would also often obscure the people in these photographs with coloured stickers, which turned out to be old price tags. As he told NPR years later: “I just got so tired of looking at these faces.”

“John didn’t make work that demanded that you know something before you could enjoy it,” Ms Fowle says. “He would mix in words and images, but it wasn’t like, if you worked really hard you would get to the bottom of the puzzle. He wasn’t trying to test people.”

‘We arrived in time for the birthing’

Imparting the joy of art to others through teaching was Baldessari’s passion – as much as making his own art.

His gallerist, Marian Goodman, tells the BBC: “He gave a great deal to his students – a great deal. He really helped them become significant artists. People came from all over to study with him, and were beholden to him for all that he taught.”

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Salle, writing in Interview magazine in 2013, described taking Baldessari’s post-studio art class was “legendary”.

“[It] bestowed on those of us with enough brains to notice, a feeling of unbelievable luck of being in exactly the right place at the right time for the new freedoms in art – we arrived in time for the birthing, so to speak.”

He remained a prolific creator, too – even into his 80s.

In late 2009, Tate Modern in London staged a retrospective of his work – often a signal that an artist is entering the autumn of their career.

Baldessari, however, spent the next two years creating an entirely new collection of work. These were shown at an exhibition at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow in 2013.

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Two years later, in 2015, the man who began his career by burning his own “boring” paintings to a crisp was awarded the National Medal of Arts by then-US President Barack Obama.

As Salle wrote: “Collectors who, a few decades ago, might have considered ‘conceptual’ art something they probably didn’t have time for are now lining up for a chance to own a Baldessari.

“Despite – or perhaps because of – John’s contrarian nature, he is firmly in the canon.”



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Manchester mayor criticises Eminem for rap about Ariana Grande gig bomb

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The lyric appears on the star’s album Music To Be Murdered By, which was released on Friday

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has hit out at Eminem for an “unnecessarily hurtful and deeply disrespectful” lyric about the 2017 bomb attack in the city.

In a song on his new album, the US star raps: “I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game/Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.”

That is followed by the sound of an explosion.

Twenty-two people died when a suicide bomber attacked a crowd after Grande’s gig at Manchester Arena in May 2017.

The lines feature in the song Unaccommodating, in which the star boasts about his impact on hip-hop. It appears on his album Music To Be Murdered By, which was released on Friday.

In a statement to BBC News, Mr Burnham said: “This is unnecessarily hurtful and deeply disrespectful to the families and all those affected.”

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Andy Burnham (right) at the reopening of Manchester Arena in September 2017

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett died in the attack, also voiced her disapproval after being informed of the two songs on Friday morning.

“Feels like he is piggybacking on the fame of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber and says distasteful things about other celebrities,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Not clever. Totally pointless. And before all Eminem fans pounce on me, I am not interested and will not engage.”

Murray has campaigned for the introduction of Martyn’s Law, which would require venues to introduce more stringent security checks.

  • Government backs airport-style security at venues
  • Service marks Manchester bomb anniversary

Hett’s former partner Russell Hayward also voiced his disapproval of Eminem’s latest lyrics, writing: “It’s disappointing but not surprising that #Eminem would use controversial lyrics about the Manchester bomb, dragging the victims’ families & Ariana back into a very dark time.

“Not sure how popular he is these days but I hope any success he gets from the back of this is worth it.”

His comments were echoed by Grande’s fans, who described Unaccommodating as “a pathetic attempt to get attention”.

One fan tweeted the rapper saying: “You’re so disgusting I hope u know that. What u said was very uncalled for and so hurtful to so many people.”

Eminem previously pledged his support to victims of the bombing in 2017, and urged fans to donate money to families who had been affected.

This is not the first time the 47-year-old has referenced the attack in song.

In a 2018 freestyle, he rapped about a brainwashed suicide bomber “seeing Ariana Grande sing her last song of the evening/And as the audience from the damn concert is leaving/Detonates the device strapped to his abdominal region.”

Unaccommodating is the opening track on the star’s 11th album, which he released, unannounced, on Friday morning.

The 20-track album, a follow-up to 2018’s Kamikaze, features cameos from Q-Tip, Ed Sheeran and the late Juice Wrld.

Gun control

In a contrast to the Manchester Arena lyric, the album’s lead single, Darkness, advocates tighter gun control laws in the US.

The song and video reference the 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas, in which 58 people died, with Eminem playing the role of an isolated, mentally-disturbed character who plots a murderous rampage to gain notoriety.

The video ends with a montage of news reports from recent mass shootings, captioned: “When will it end? When enough people care.”

Eminem then urges fans to register to vote in the upcoming US elections, writing: “Make your voice heard and help change gun laws in America”.

The video also links to a website with information and links to various anti-gun violence organisations including Everytown For Gun Safety, March For Our Lives and Sandy Hook Promise.

It is not the first time the star has addressed the issue. Performing at last year’s iHeartRadio music awards, he delivered a verse attacking the National Rifle Association’s hold over politicians, rapping: “They love their guns more than our children.”

At the time of writing, he had not responded to the criticism over Unaccommodating. The BBC has contacted his publicists for comment.

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Haitian Actress Nathalie Dalizien Announced Upcoming Film Series And Shows

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Nathalie Dalizien is a young actress from Haiti and she enjoys Broadway shows and activities because the acting career was her passion since when she was younger. She has an upcoming project with Motivation 509 and her upcoming project is described to be a film series. She hopes to perform with Actors and Actresses across Haiti, the United States, Canada, France, Uk, and any other countries in the world.

During an interview with Bon Déjeuner! Radio, or BDR! Live, the journalists have learned that she was born in Port-Au-Prince and her first performance was at the age of 5 years old. The 23 years old actress can write her own Broadway plays and movie scripts as well because she appears in more than 11 short movies/videos that she produced with her acting group called Motivation 509. Her taste for comedy is strong and she wants to help the Haitian Movie Industry become better for this generation and upcoming generations. 

Jean-Gardy Bien-aimé is her favorite male actor and she will always be available to perform with other actors or actresses. She starts acting since when she was 5 years old and comedy is her favorite movie genre. She can sing as well but singing is not her favorite. In the upcoming years, she hopes to release new movies and new film series as well. She is her own inspiration and her experiences began when she was acting at her school and Church in front of thousands of people.

Nathalie Dalizien has an upcoming film series that she produced with Motivation 509 and the series will be released in all online major stores soon. 

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Popular Radio Station ‘BDR! Live’ Allow Artists And Performers To Submit Their Music For Airplay

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Getting your tracks played on the radio can make a big impact on your career, so it’s important to approach radio stations in the right way, to give yourself the best chance of making it onto the airwaves. Airplay is tricky to secure, so be patient, make sure your tracks are water-tight and don’t be too discouraged if you don’t the results you want immediately.

Bon Déjeuner! Radio (also known as BDR) is an internet radio station located in Haiti that broadcasts Top music, live concerts, interviews, shows, food updates, and entertainment news across the internet. BDR! Live allow Artists, Musicians, Performers, Singers, DJs, and others to submit album/single for review for a chance to get their songs heard live on air. 

BDR has millions of listeners and impressions online since when the radio reached out to millions of people worldwide. Of course, BDR will help Artists get the right exposure that they deserve and all.

As an independent artist or else, signed or unsigned, one of the main things you have to understand its distribution. With nobody there to put in the hard work for you, it’s down to yourself to make a positive impression. One of the best ways to distribute your music is to submit music to a radio station.

Radio stations provide exposure, excitement, and hype for your music and can help to really build up and solidify that brand appeal that you wish to cultivate. Of course, BDR can help and build you up, so don’t take this opportunity for granted and submit your work or songs today.

BDR is known as the Caribbean’s best online radio station and you’ll be lucky to be featured on BDR! Live. To submit your work or music, go to www.bondejeunerfm.online and check out Artist programs to move forward with your requests.

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