As part of the Murals of La Jolla project, John Baldessari juxtaposes a brain-like cloud hovering over a coastal palm tree on the largest wall facing La Jolla Cove. After grabbing lunch just up the street, I took these two photos of the mural after remembering a friend’s recommendation to check it out if I was in the area.
When asked about mural, Baldessari reveals, “A brain can look like a cloud if you manipulate it in the right way. We see things in clouds. It looks like it’s hovering almost from outer space. I like banal images and I can’t think of anything more banal than a palm tree and an ocean.” Personally, I think he’s just having a little fun with the folks eating at George’s at the Cove.
John Baldessari grew up just 20 minutes south of La Jolla and spent a great amount of time as a young artist in the 1960s exhibiting with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, which at the time, was known as The Art Center in La Jolla. His ties to the small coastal town also extend just 2 miles north at UCSD—where he spent time as an instructor before moving to Santa Monica in 1970.
Since then, Baldessari has found a way to permeate some of the world’s most renown collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Broad Collection, the Guggenheim Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. With over 200 solo and 1000 group exhibitions under his belt, John Baldessari was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2009. Not too bad, right?
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