John A. Baldessari
Artist and Educator
San Diego State University
John A. Baldessari is an internationally renowned conceptual artist and an influential educator in the visual arts. Born in National City, CA, in 1931, Mr. Baldessari studied art at San Diego State University from 1949 through 1957, receiving both his bachelor and master's degrees from SDSU. As he began to develop his mature painting style, he drew material from popular culture, and incorporated letters, photographs and a unique focus on language and puns into his work.
He is a pioneer in interdisciplinary art, working in printmaking, film, video, installation, sculpture, and photography. For more than four decades, Mr. Baldessari's extraordinary achievements in the visual arts have spanned the globe. His work has been exhibited in galleries in New York, Paris, Zurich and Barcelona. World-renowned museums in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as in Switzerland, Australia, and the Netherlands include his work in their permanent collections.
Mr. Baldessari has shared his talent with Southern California students and visiting artists through faculty appointments at the California Institute of the Arts and as a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studio Art at UCLA. He has demonstrated a unique respect for and commitment to the growing diversity of the San Diego region and the state of California by documenting, through his art, the changes in his hometown. This work became part of a critically acclaimed exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art in 1996.
Mr. Baldessari received the College Art Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in l999; the California Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts in 1997; and the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1986. In 1988, SDSU honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award.
In recognition of his lifelong excellence in the arts, the Board of Trustees of The California State University and San Diego State University are proud to confer upon John A. Baldessari the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.