“His practice defies categorization and thwarts the usual mechanisms for identifying an artist through a particular style, medium and even a name.”
Robert Beck Robert Buck
96 pp 39 col. ill. 11 x 8 in hardcover
$25.00 Can. $30.00 U.S.
In 2008, American artist Robert Beck changed his surname by a single vowel to Buck. This act of artistic self-nomination was precipitated by what he had achieved as Beck, an oeuvre often autobiographical in content and persistently diverse in form. Working in various mediums (drawing, sculpture, photography, and video) the artist has returned repeatedly to the universal themes of family, memory, identity, authorship, and loss. While his own experiences are central, the artist deliberately withholds information to solicit the viewer's own unique associations. He has described his work as a way to “create an index by which I could make sense of earlier, often traumatic experiences so to transcend them. Evidence of this riddles my work: bodies, holes, camouflage, mimicry, memorials, erasure, guilt, corruption, sex, and death.” Several works discussed herein are again relevant in the wake of recent shootings in the United States, with the images of teen shooters in Beck's Thirteen Shooters, 2001 echoing Andy Warhol's 1964 mural Thirteen Most Wanted Men.
Robert Buck lives and works in New York City. His work has been exhibited internationally, including a solo show at the Wexner Museum of Art (2007), as well as in group exhibitions such as The San Francisco Museum of Art’s “The Air We Breath” (2011). James Voorhies is director of Bureau for Open Culture, an itinerant curatorial initiative that receives support from museums, universities and foundations to make projects in dialogue with artists and writers.