New York, 456 West 18th Street
Los Angeles-based mixed media artist Walead Beshty explores physical and mental stages of creative thinking in his expansive body of work, delving into intricacies of bearing works of art under rapid technological improvements. Comparing systematic and precise dynamic of the machine and instinctive gestures of the mankind, the British artist breaks down facilitation of art making in the 21st century.
In his second solo exhibition at Petzel Gallery, Beshty presents a generous selection of works that examine not only the aesthetics and concepts of art making, but also the physical and technical elements of artistry. Office Works, for example, are de-assembled office machines sitting on a pole. While they still function as office gadgets, they have to endure being deconstructed, demystified, and ridiculed. A group of copper works on the other hand require to be installed without using gloves so that traces from every art handler who touched and installed them can be visible.
“The problem with art that is solely conceptual is that it argues that art exists in theory only. An art that is so invested in its own idea is a lifeless, decadent, superfluous art. Presenting an object that explicates its own objecthood is the most banal, boring, tautological argument. Beshty’s practice is purely representational, not creative. It doesn’t demand change, and it doesn’t really do anything itself. It merely presents us with a damaged photograph and a “problem” we already knew existed,” explains Kathryn Garcia in her review of Beshty’s work on Bidoun.
The exhibition runs through June 17, 2017.