John Baldessari (1931-)
I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art
Sheet: 22 9/16 × 30 1/8 in. (57.3 × 76.5 cm)
Printed by Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Lithography Workshop; published by Nova Scotia College of Art and Design
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from Susan Hess
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
In 1971, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, invited John Baldessari to exhibit his work. However, the college did not have the funds for Baldessari to travel to Halifax, so the artist proposed that the art students in Halifax act as his surrogates. The students were instructed by Baldessari to write “I will not make any more boring art” on the gallery walls for the duration of the exhibition (April 1-10, 1971). By enlisting the art students to slavishly write the phrase over and over, Baldessari poked fun at the entire system of art education, which he felt encouraged students to imitate rather than experiment and innovate. The artist also sent along a handwritten page of the phrase, from which the students produced prints. After the work's completion, Baldessari committed his own version of the piece to videotape. The subversive, graffiti-like action of drawing directly on the gallery walls reflected the artist’s dissatisfaction with the limitations of traditional painting in the early 1970s. His interest in language-based performative actions that could be realized by others was a hallmark of early conceptual art.