Bas Jan Ader

Posted on October 31, 2010


Bas Jan Ader (born April 19, 1942 in Winschoten, the Netherlands, lost at sea in 1975 between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Ireland) was a Dutch conceptual artist, performance artist, photographer and filmmaker. He lived in Los Angeles for the last 10 years of his life. Ader’s work was in many instances presented as photographs and film of his performances. He also made performative installations, includingPlease Don’t Leave Me (1969). His work began to experience a surge in popularity in the early 1990s.

Ader’s most popular work is his 1971 short film piece, I’m too sad to tell you, that consists of the artist crying in front of a camera after a brief title. The interests and concerns in Ader’s oeuvre locate him in similar art historical tropes of conceptual and performance artists of the 1970s, such as Chris Burden and Bruce Nauman. Like many conceptual art works of the 1970s, his works were recorded in descriptive notes and statements destined to have flexible and repeated incarnations.

Many myths have spread out about Ader’s disappearance at sea, leading to speculations about supposedly lost works resurfacing.

see: Portikus/ Bas Jan Ader

and: I’m too sad to tell you (1971)

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