"I still think the social function of art is that kind of negative aesthetic. Otherwise there’s no social function for it."
Artists often guide the way a viewer experiences an artwork. Artists can influence the order of what we see in their work, or change the expectations about what we think a work of art is. The process of looking at a work of art often determines its impact and meaning. Watch Baldessari's segment, and discuss how he thinks about the process of looking and engaging the viewer in his work.
How can artists guide or even control the way audiences see and experience their work?
Baldessari says that art is about making a choice. Pause the segment on a particular image, and describe the choices Baldessari has made. Discuss how these choices contribute to your interpretation of the work.
Choose a work by Baldessari, and talk about the process of looking. What images or ideas do you notice first, second, third? How does your eye travel around these images? What has Baldessari prioritized, and why? How has the artist controlled your experience of viewing?
Assemble a collection of found or self-made images. Rearrange them in different configurations over the course of a day, week, or month. How do different arrangements and juxtapositions affect the way you see and interpret the images? Take notes on your discoveries, and photograph the different configurations, to share with others in an exhibition.