Having watched A Brief History of John Baldessari, I am able to take away to major traits about him. He enjoys being humorous and he is a much accomplished artist. The humor was captured by the video in multiple ways. What I noticed first was the use of quick cuts. They were so quick, it almost did not allow the viewer to completely see and notice everything that was in the entire frame. A similar technique was used to literally spell out each word the narrator would say for a sentence or two at a time. This over exaggerates what it is that is being said to a point of over dramatization. The audience is fully aware of what is being said, whether the words are written or not. However, having them appear physically and through audio makes it seem funny as though one of those forms is unnecessary.
Not only does he prefer to use humor, he specifically enjoys dry humor. For example, the narrator states that Baldessari burned all of his art made up until 1970. Immediately following, there is a shot of Baldessari stating that since it was done in a crematorium, the proper word is ‘cremated’. There are also a lot of sentences in the narration that begin with “This is John Baldessari’s….”. This very basic technique is so basic that it is laughable. It is done for such simple objects such as his desk, chair, wifi password, coffe maker and others that it is almost ironic that these objects need an introduction. However, what this technique also does is show how simple of a person this obscure artist truly is, which could also be considered ironic.
The irony continues to build when Baldessari’s world renowned art form of putting dots over peoples’ faces is introduced. The narrator even introduces it as basic, but Baldessari now decides that he would like to speak slightly complexly about something. Claiming things such as “it is his take on the world” and “it levels the playing field” are the first real pieces of evidence of his artistic thoughts, yet they are about something so simple. This contrast of a simple though and detailed explanation really is made possible by the technique of allowing Baldessari to do so. In the video about Amar, there are no parts that allow him to talk or elaborate on what is happening. This video allowing Baldessari to speak on the topics being discussed is what sets up all of these different scenarios for dry humor and irony.