When Walter Hopps debuted the first Duchamp retrospective at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1963, a paradigm shift occurred in the focus of West Coast art. Added to the mix at this time were two landmark shows by Andy Warhol and one by Roy Lichtenstein. While local Duchampian inspired artists such as Wallace Berman and Bruce Conner and their circle percolated in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was an emphasis towards outright Abstract Expressionism in the works of Richard Diebenkorn, Frank Lobdell, Sonia Gechtoff, Hassel Smith and a strong influence of Abstract Expressionism in works by Ed Kienholz, Robert Irwin, John Altoon, Vija Celmins, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Moses, Larry Bell, Robert Kauffman, and Ed Ruscha. With the advent of the Duchamp retrospective and Warhol's shows at The Ferus Gallery, the predilection for Abstract Expressionist conventions was overthrown completely, for example, freeing artists such as Irwin to move in the direction of light and space, Ruscha to his text paintings and Kauffman to his vacuum formed reliefs.
"Take Baldessari, then committed to an approach to painting and collage that combined formalist and expressionist concerns. He (Baldessari) recalls thinking, '"if they (Duchamp and Warhol) are right, then I'm wrong"' (J. Baldessari, 1990 as quoted in R. Pincus, ""Quality Material...": Duchamp Disseminated in the Sixties and Seventies," B. Clearwater, ed., West Coast Ducahmp, Miami, 1991, p. 90). By 1966, when he was making pictures like Wrong, clearly he thought they were right. For he, too, had begun making art at the service of the mind. He employed photographs taken at random or which was in turn transferred to canvas via silkscreening and amended with text. By posing directly in front of a tree, the artist contradicted the most basic tenet of situating a figure in landscape. Then, to let the viewer know just what his intentions were, he had a sign painter add the word wrong as a kind of caption. He had begun making art that doubled as a wry critique of art.
"Baldessari is one of the pivotal West Coast artists who became an enthusiast of Duchamp, but he associates his own change as much with seeing Warhol's pictures at Ferus as Duchamp's retrospective in Pasadena (R. Pincus, Ibid, p. 90). This mixing of influences is characteristic of several West Coast artists who have done something vital with the influence of Duchamp, beginning with Ruscha and Pettibone. Indeed it was crucial to the development of their art. At the same time, we need to keep in mind that each nexus of influences consistently has at its core Duchamp's work" (Ibid., p. 90).