‘Folding Hat’ is one of Baldessari’s earliest works. In this video performance, the artist deforms a felt hat as he cheerfully whistles an aria from ‘The Barber of Seville’. Baldessari twists and folds the headgear in all kinds of ways, in an attempt to move away from the characteristics of a hat. Can a hat stop being a hat? By altering the shape of the hat, Baldessari also modifies the familiar significances of this object. His intention is to make the viewer aware of the way we assign meanings to objects. Baldessari ranks as one of the most influential conceptual artists. In the early 1970s, he produced a number of videotapes in which he undertook a critical investigation into human perception, making frequent use of cultural icons and art-historical references. ‘Folding Hat’ is part of Gerry Schum’s 1970 video compilation Identifications.
© John Baldessari/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Makers

Collection

Time-based media

Production date

1971

Library

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Material

video installation, black-and-white, sound

Object number

CA 7_10