Doctor Baldessari, I presume!

May 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

John Baldessari receiving honorary Doctorate at CCA

May 14, 2011

On a lovely Saturday afternoon in San Francisco, John Baldessari received an honorary Doctorate from the California College of the Arts.  Along with fellow Doctoral recipient Betty Reid Soskin, Baldessari was applauded by the hundreds in attendance at the graduation ceremony held at the Concourse Exhibition Center near the CCA San Francisco campus.  Founded in 1907, CCA is one of the most respected schools teaching fine art, architecture, design and arts management to undergraduate and graduate students.  Prior notable recipients of honorary Doctorates at CCA include Gemini artists Josef Albers, Frank Gehry, Ann Hamilton, Isamu Noguchi, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Wayne Thiebaud, James Turrell and Richard Tuttle

Flying from New York on the third leg of our 10-day trip that had begun in Chicago, Sidney and I landed in time to dine on Friday night with John and gallerists Gretchen and John Berggruen.  At Saturday’s ceremonies, CCA President Stephen Beal spoke of Baldessari’s considerable influence on students, particularly those at CCA, and of Baldessari’s years of dedication to the teaching and making of art.  John, with his typical humility and humor, gave simple words of advice to the graduating students, slyly referencing his own many years of hard work and slowly-gained, eventual success.  In closing, he quoted the words of wisdom imparted by an old Japanese surfer he once met in Hawaii:  “Paddle, paddle, paddle.  Some day big wave come.”

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