Three Feathers and Other Fairy Tales

1973, 31:15 min, b&w, sound

In Three Feathers and Other Fairy Tales, a narrative performance, Baldessari reads six fairy tales, each of which expresses primal fears and subconscious desires. In a characteristic ironic disparity, he announces that he is going to "make a long story short," but goes on to read five more tales. Characterized by dreamlike analogies and juxtapositions of associative images, the moralistic tales range from the morbid, cautionary Mr. Fox to the nonsensical Lazy Jack. Exploiting the fairy tale's element of continuous recreation — a story that reinvents and transmutes itself with each new telling — Baldessari transfers oral narrative traditions to the visual arts.