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Barton Lidice Benes: Archive

Pavel Zoubok Gallery
533 West 23rd Street, 212-675-7490
January 7 - February 5, 2011
Reception: Friday, January 7, 6 - 8 PM
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PAVEL ZOUBOK GALLERY invites you to BARTON LIDICÉ BENEŠ: ARCHIVE, a survey exhibition of collages and constructions from the past twenty years. Exhibited works include a selection of the artist’s Museums, the subject of “Curiosa,” his 2002 Abrams monograph, and several works from his controversial Lethal Weapon Series. The exhibition will also include an installation of heavily encrusted orbs composed from pencils, firecrackers, rope and plastic toys – aptly titled Cojones, and collaged “rugs” woven from currency, stamps and love letters, as well as other oddments. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, January 7, 2011 from 6-8pm or during the run of the exhibition, which continues through February 5.

Collecting… BARTON LIDICÉ BENEŠ has been collecting things, and by things we mean EVERYTHING, for the better part of his adult life. His vast archive includes fragments from ancient civilizations, strange – even bizarre – found objects, and relics from major world events, celebrity encounters, international landmarks and the natural world. Living and working in an environment that can only be described as a work of art in itself (packed to the rafters with taxidermy, treasure-laden vitrines and cases, antique filing drawers, books and every conceivable curiosity), Beneš creates collages and objects that function as literal and figurative museums of the imagination.

ARCHIVE brings together works from the past two decades including; large-scale “Museums” – collaged shadow boxes containing thematic groupings of relics ranging from material evocations of death and destruction (e.g. a drapery tieback from Saddam Hussein’s Bagdad palace in Iraq, or lead from the coffin of Cosimo de’ Medici from 1574), to objects that playfully point to our collective obsession with fame (e.g. the mattress tag from Barbara Streisand and James Brolin’s honeymoon suite, and a tile from John Gotti’s indoor swimming pool). Never one to shy away from painful or controversial subjects, Beneš’ art has also served as an instrument of political and social resistance. This is best demonstrated in his infamous series of “Lethal Weapons” – found objects filled with the artist’s own HIV-positive blood and framed behind safety glass – which was exhibited internationally during the 1990s. What emerges from this intimate survey of Beneš’ work is an artist and activist who has taken a life-long passion for collecting and created a uniquely personal “Museum,” filled with all the triumphs and tragedies of our collective experience.

Barton Lidicé Beneš (b.1942) has exhibited nationally and internationally since the late 1960s, including exhibitions at Centre Pompidou in Paris, New York Public Library, Hudson River Museum, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Boras Konstmuseum in Sweden, Old Town Hall in Prague, The Cleveland Museum of Art, National Museum of American Art, North Dakota Museum of Art, The Katonah Museum of Art, and Federal Reserve Boards in Washington DC, Cleveland and Dallas. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with Pavel Zoubok Gallery.
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