Art BaseL Miami Beach - december 2 - 5, 2004
Inspired by popular culture and American vernacular forms, Robert Beck works in a variety of media, including drawing, photography, video, and sculpture. Ongoing concerns evident throughout his disparate body of work include masculinity, violence, tabloid culture, the family, and suburbia.
Subject matter for Beck ranges from sculptural objects made by firing rifles and shotguns into buckets of variously colored wound filler (a material used by morticians to fill bullet and stab wounds of corpses), to reworkings of instructional drawings found in hunting guides (how-to drawings for skinning dead rabbits, made for teens), to imagined gifts of art work made by teenage murderer Kip Kinkel for his parents. A new series of sculptures by the artist reconfigure everyday domestic spaces as strange, disorienting architectural hybrids.
Made of commonplace building materials, these anomalous constructions confuse phenomenology with psychology. Mutations of familiar interiors, they defy suburban domesticity, producing potent and uncanny talismans for a Home Depot culture.
The Art Basel /Design District exhibition features new work by Beck, but exhibited within the context of his wide-ranging body of work. Not quite a retrospective, this exhibition is an important moment critically, providing a crucial introduction to Beck’s singular body of work for an international audience.
For critics and other that have followed Beck’s work, this exhibition situates newer work within the context of a longer thematic trajectory.