John Baldessari reunites Pollock with his teacher


“Art doesn’t just arise out of nowhere,” says the 85-year-old artist US John Baldessari. “Art comes out of art; I’m interested in artists who influenced me, and how one artist interests another artist.”

Twelve new pictures by Baldessari, on show at Marian Goodman gallery in New York (until 23 December), juxtapose details of paintings by Jackson Pollock with those of works by the Abstract Expressionist’s teacher, Thomas Hart Benton. The works are overlaid with Baldessari's own interventions: splotches of colour and cryptic words such as “ordinary” and “frequent” at the bottom of each canvas. 

For Baldessari, Pollock was a game changer: "With him, Abstract Expressionism was the only game in town, and after Pollock, a lot of other things became available.” 

The works come out of Baldessari’s long-standing interest in pairing images and words. Next year, a show of Baldessari’s works at Marian Goodman's London gallery (10 January-25 February) will combine details from a single work by Miró with stills from classic Hollywood films. 


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