Artwork Details


american, dream, repeat, text

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Learn to Dream

ArtistJohn Baldessari
Production Date2011
Size991 x 813 mm
DepartmentInternational Art
Accession Date21 Nov 2012
Accession NoC2012/1/30
Credit LineChartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2012

Chartwell Notes

This work repeats a directive Baldessari has used throughout his career: "Learn to Dream." These words are placed across horizontal bands of yellow, black, cyan, and light blue, and rendered in the typeface 'Churchward Montezuma 96 Extra Bold' designed by New Zealand typographer Joseph Churchward. Baldessari has come back to this phrase multiple times in different formats: most recently on a billboard in New Zealand for ARTSPACE, and on T-shirts for the Trespass Parade in downtown Los Angeles. In contrast to the common characterization of dreaming as something that happens unconsciously, or when we lose focus (daydreaming), Baldessari encourages us to actively dream, to deliberately engage with the creative, the irrational, and the hopeful.


John Baldessari was one of the founders of the conceptual art movement in California in the 1960's. His art has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe and in over 750 group exhibitions. A major retrospective of his work, Pure Beauty, opened at the Tate Modern in October 2009 and traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museu d'Art Contemporani in Barcelona and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Baldessari was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2009 Venice Biennale. His recent exhibition at 1301PE, John Baldessari: Not Prints: Posters 1966-2010, was the first comprehensive exhibition of his artist-designed exhibition posters. The first volume of his Catalogue Raisonné was released in May 2012 from Yale University Press.