Simon Patterson on John Baldessari

"[A Painting That Is Its Own Documentation] is painted on canvas by professional signwriters and lists the date of the work's conception followed by its subsequent exhibition history, which must be updated every time the painting is shown. I like the way that, by incorporating its own history and perpetuity, A Painting That Is Its Own Documentation defies the fate of most works, which eventually become weighed down with their history. Marcel Duchamp said a work of art only has a life of forty years after which it becomes history, but in this work, now in its forty-third year, John Baldessari has it both ways: A Painting That Is Its Own Documentation has not only become history but, paradoxically, history keeps it alive. By being continuously exhibited the work lives on, constantly renewing itself." 

Above: John Baldessari, A Painting That Is Its Own Documentation, 1966-68, Acrylic on canvas

(p. 128)