Museum of Contemporary Art hosts ‘Prince of Prints’ exhibit

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

John Baldessari, native son of National City, has been called “arguably America’s most influential conceptual artist.” He is certainly National City’s best-known art product, and at age 80 is still in demand all over the world.

In the past year or so, he’s had shows in Sydney, Milan, London, Berlin, New York and Los Angeles, where he lives. Starting Feb. 5, his work will be featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla in “A Print Retrospective from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation.” On display will be more than 100 pieces selected from the array of lithographs, etchings, photogravures, aquatints and silkscreens Baldessari created between 1973 and 2010.

Photographic portrait of John Baldessari, 2004, by Analia Saban

John Baldessari will show his works in La Jolla, including ‘Money (with Space Between)’ above. Courtesy

The exhibit, originally shown in San Francisco in 2009 and now traveling around the country, is the largest offering of Baldessari’s graphic work ever assembled. It is part of the massive holdings of Jordan Schnitzer, an Oregon businessman/philanthropist whose collections comprise more than 5,000 prints by Baldessari, Frank Stella, Jim Dine, James Rosenquist and other major contemporary artists. His donations to the University of Oregon’s Art Museum have been so significant that the museum was renamed for him in 2005.

Baldessari is no stranger to MCASD. In fact, his first exhibition, in 1960, was at the “Art Center in La Jolla,” now known as MCASD-LJ. His last solo show there was in 1997, but a number of his works remain in the museum’s permanent collection.

Though he started out as a painter, best known for his provocative “word pieces,” he burned all his paintings in 1970. As part of his “Cremation Project,” the ashes were placed in an urn, with each painting’s birth and death date listed on a commemorative plaque.

Since then, his projects have included artist’s books, videos, films, billboards, public works, and of course, prints, often embellished with colorful cutouts and altered photographs. His signature style in all media is witty and experimental, and he continues to expand the field of printmaking in his own unique ways.

“Though John is primarily identified as a conceptual artist, he was one of the first to take photography as a 
serious medium in the 1970s, and his use of photography and text combine naturally in printmaking,” said MCASD Director Hugh Davies. “And printmaking, like photography, is a very democratic medium, which he likes, because he can make multiple examples, so more than one person can own a piece.”

Also on display will be a sampling of Baldessari’s works from the museum’s collection, including two of his early word paintings. But the main attraction is the Print Retrospective, which Davies called one of the most exciting traveling shows around today.

“Jordan Schnitzer is a very passionate and generous collector who focuses on prints and really cares about the artists and cherishes their work,” he said. “Aside from, possibly, John himself, he’s THE collector of Baldessari prints, so we’re very proud to have the exhibit here.”

If you go

What: A Print Retrospective from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

When: Feb. 5-May 13

Members’ Opening: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, 700 Prospect St.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday; to 
7 p.m. third Thursdays; closed Wednesdays

Admission: $5-$10, free 5-7 p.m. third Thursdays, and to members

(858) 454-3541


Related posts:

  1. John Baldessari mural takes its place above La Jolla Cove
  2. La Jolla’s first interpretive panel installed near Scripps Pier
  3. Art-lovers make gallery wine walk a fun, fall event
  4. Kim MacConnel exhibits four decades of work at MCASD
  5. Gallery to host event exploring Sudanese culture

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Jan 31, 2012. Filed under Art, Art Galleries & Institutions, Featured Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Summer 2014 Carmel Valley Open Basketball League Champs: ‘Carmel Valley Spurs’ August 30, 2014
    On Aug. 18, the Carmel Valley Spurs defeated the Solana Beach Stray Cats, 67-41, in the 5th/6th grade championship game in the Master Sports Carmel Valley OPEN Basketball League. Over a 10-game season, the offense scored 659 points while giving up only 364 on defense. The average game score was 66-36. They had the best rebounders, best shooters, and best def […]
  • Hundreds turn out for Carmel Valley planning board meeting on One Paseo August 30, 2014
    Hearts and visions collided at the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting, where an overflow crowd turned out to debate the future of the last major slice of the community left to be developed. All 400 seats in Canyon Crest Academy’s theater were filled, and people spilled out into the aisles and crammed into standing-room only spots in the b […]
  • Del Mar Library book-to-movie club picks fall reads August 30, 2014
    Print Goes to the Movies, a book/movie discussion group held at the Del Mar Branch Library at 2 p.m. every second Friday, has announced its upcoming dates and movies. […]