New Book and Panel Discussion Focus on John Baldessari’s Impact

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Before his death in January 2020, the conceptual artist John Baldessari—a renowned pillar of CalArts history—completed a final series of paintings.

Now the Sprüth Magers gallery in Los Angeles is celebrating that series—and Baldessari’s profound impact—with a public discussion and book launch this week.

The event is set for 11 am on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the gallery. A conversation moderated by Michael Ned Holte, CalArts’ associate dean for the School of Art Art, will center on Baldessari’s legacy and The Space Between—the new catalogue documenting that final series of his work. Sprüth Magers exhibited the series in 2021.

Artist and CalArts alum Liz Larner (Art BFA 85); Thomas Lawson, dean of the CalArts School of Art; and Russell Ferguson, a UCLA faculty member, will join Holte for the discussion. 

Baldessari joined CalArts in 1970 as a founding faculty member in the School of Art, where he helped to establish the Institute’s culture and to shape how the arts are taught.

President Barack Obama honored Baldessari in 2016 with the National Medal of Arts. The New York Times credited him with helping to “transform Los Angeles into a global art capital through his witty image-making and decades of teaching there.”

Seating for Wednesday’s event is limited, and proof of vaccination will be required. Those wishing to attend should RSVP by sending email to

—Adam Smeltz

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