PAVEL ZOUBOK GALLERY invites you to experience The Thrill of the Hunt, a memorial exhibition celebrating the life and work of New York artist BARTON LIDICÉ BENEŠ (1942-2012). The exhibition will feature key works from Beneš’ legendary Westbeth studio including his seminal assemblage Money Purse (1986) and the ultimate in artist reliquaries Art Museum, which was two decades in the making. Additional works include important Museums and Reliquaries from the past decade, as well as Botanica, a series of currency collages inspired by nature.
Please join us for the opening reception to see these and other hidden treasures on Thursday, October 11, 2012 from 6-8pm or during the run of the exhibition, which continues through November 10.
BARTON LIDICÉ BENEŠ was born in Westwood, New Jersey and graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1960s. Trained as a painter, Beneš’ life changed course during an early trip to the Ivory Coast where tribal art made from detritus dazzled him – he never painted again. Working in his Westbeth studio, Beneš transformed the fragments of our throwaway culture into works of art that often addressed taboo subjects: cremation ashes, shredded money, AIDS paraphernalia, and reliquaries made from celebrity rubbish.
For Beneš, money was rich palate of color and imagery, as well as a powerful symbol. His whimsical collages and sculptures made from recycled currencies dazzled international audiences with their biting critique of cultural and political events. He challenged the viewer to literally and figuratively “tear it up”. The Federal Reserve Board was so enamored with his work that they awarded him a certificate of appreciation (for donating a work to their Fine Arts Program) and a million dollars worth of shredded money to use in his artwork.
Over the last decade, Beneš created Museums, displays of collectible objects (often belonging to well-known personalities) and relics that he mounted, labeled and placed into thematic arrangements. These works were celebrated in the 2002 Abrams monograph Curiosa: Celebrity Relics, Historical Fossils, & Other Metaphoric Rubbish. With his museums, Benes shared a perverse sense of humor that allowed him to make light of even the darkest subjects. This included his own tireless fight against the AIDS epidemic and his activism in chronicling his own HIV+ status in a series of works created with his infected blood. These were the subject of the groundbreaking exhibition entitled Lethal Weapons, which made Beneš a cause celebre as it toured Europe in the 1990s. A first-generation veteran of the AIDS epidemic, he has been featured in numerous documentary films about Art, AIDS and gay history, including Lovett Productions’ Gay Sex in the 70s.
Beneš’ work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Smithsonian and The U.S. Mint, as well as museums and private collections throughout the world. Earlier this year he received the Wynn Newhouse Award at the Syracuse Club in Manhattan. Over his forty year career, he has exhibited with numerous galleries including Kathryn Markel Gallery, Lennon Weinberg Gallery and Stefan Anders Gallery (Umea, Sweden). He has been represented by Pavel Zoubok Gallery since 2009.