A huge mural, 36 feet by 40 feet, is displayed on an ocean view wall in La Jolla. It is the fourth mural in a series, The Murals of La Jolla. By John Baldessari, it is titled either Cloud? or Brain Cloud, I’m not sure. Various sources list it differently.
Sarah Thornton calls John Baldessari the “gregarious guru of Southern California art scene (Seven Days in the Art World, 2009). He is also internationally famous. And “conceptual.” And puts disparate images together. A brain, a palm tree, the ocean, for instance. The La Jolla Light offers this quote from Baldessari by way of explaining the mural: “I like banal images and I can’t think of anything more banal than a palm tree and an ocean.”
The images may be banal but the mural rises above them. Maybe. It is an odd juxtaposition of brains and palm. Kind of funky. Problem is, it’s a magnificently large mural and almost impossible to see. You can see the upper part of it, the brain/cloud and some of the palm tree from the street below, but the dark blue of the ocean on the mural and the tall trunk of the palm tree are hidden by the buildings and other palm trees. Maybe that’s the “conceptual” part. You can hear the seals and smell the pelicans, though. No doubt about being by the sea. And the sea is never banal.
Neither are the brains behind the Murals of La Jolla. They give us the most interesting walls.
This mural is actually printed on vinyl and stretched on an aluminum frame fixed to the side of the building. The best view of it is on the web page of the company which installed it, CNP Signs & Graphics.