Walead Beshty

Open Source

April 20 - June 17, 2017

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 20th, 6–8pm

456 W 18th Street

Petzel Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Walead Beshty. Entitled Open Source, the show features photographs and sculptures that wear their history on the surface, reflecting the artist’s interest in rendering transparent how an artwork is produced. This will be the gallery’s second solo exhibition with the Los Angeles-based artist.

In the Cross-Contaminated Inverted RA4 Contact Prints, the artist continues to explore the complexity of creating photograms made in the darkroom without cameras. The colors, drips and markings on the work’s surface act as an index of the network of tensions within the printing process. In these new works, Beshty has added increasing variables, exposing two sheets simultaneously face-to-face through the processor, resulting in a “Rorschaching” effect.

Also on view are the Office Works; deconstructed office machines skewered on a pole yet still partially working within that constraint, as well as the Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV works–flickering 90” Sharp TVs cut down the middle or drilled through the center with a 12” hole (the size of the standard concrete circular drill bit). In each case, the inner workings that are typically concealed become exposed, allowing the viewer to see what is normally unseen.

The exhibition also features Beshty’s polished copper works. Copper Surrogate (60” x 120” 48 ounce C11000 Copper Alloy, 90o Bend, 60” Bisection/5 Sections: *dates of install/deinstall*, New York, New York) is intended to be treated without gloves when installed or de-installed such that with each handling, the works accrue marks from contact with the art handler’s body. The resultant piece is then a product of the very labor required to display it. The Copper Remnants are the remainders of other copper works the artist has made—their composition derived from the fabricator trying to maximize each sheet. The form of each work is determined by the copper sheet sizes, which are standard to the industry and scaled to fit factory machining. The industrial, corporate or commercial standard is the guide, as is the case with the store bought TVs, used office machines from the gallery, photographic paper from a factory roll. In the artist’s words, “The work fits into these standardized forms, it is a negotiation with these standardizations. In general, I think life is a negotiation with such limits. Improvisation within restriction.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, Procedurals, featuring an interview with the artist.

—Jane Park, March 23, New York City

Walead Beshty (b. 1976, London, UK) is an artist and writer working in Los Angeles, and Associate Professor in the Graduate Art Department of Art Center College of Design. In the past decade, he has had numerous solo exhibitions including, A Partial Disassembling of an Invention without a Future: Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in which the Pulleys and Cogwheels are Lying around at Random All over the Workbench, Curve Gallery at the Barbican Centre, London (2014); Walead Beshty: Untitled, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (2013); Securities and Exchanges at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2011); A Diagram of Forces at Malmö Konsthall, Sweden / Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2011); and Legibility on Color Backgrounds, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2009). His work was included in the 56th Biennale di Venezia (2015); the Tate Triennial (2009); and Whitney Biennial (2008). The artist is curating an exhibition entitled Picture Industry set to open this June at the Hessel Museum of Art at the CCS, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2017); and will be the subject of solo shows at Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver (2018); and Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva (2019).

Beshty’s work is held in permanent museum collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Tate Modern, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among others.

Recent publications include 33 Texts: 93,614 Words: 581,035 Characters, Selected Writings (2003–2015) (JRP|Ringier, 2016) and Industrial Portraits: Volume One, 2008–2012 also published by JRP|Ringier, set to be released in April 2017.

Petzel Gallery is located at 456 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM–6:00 PM. For press inquiries, please contact Janine Latham at janine@petzel.com, or call (212) 680-9467.


Download Press Release (PDF 492 K)


  • 1 / 11
    Office Work (Apple iMac A1312 27" Desktop Intel Core 2 Duo)
    2017
    Apple iMac A1312 27" Desktop Intel Core 2 Duo and steel
    72.5 x 30.5 x 30.5 inches
  • 2 / 11
    Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
    2017
    Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
    80.875 x 47.6875 x 4.5 inches
  • 3 / 11
    Office Work (Canon imageCLASS D1350 Monochrome Laser All-in-One Printer, Copier, Scanner, Fax F161402)
    2017
    Canon imageCLASS D1350 Monochrome Laser All-in-One Printer, Copier, Scanner, Fax F161402
    72.5 x 28.375 x 28.375 inches
  • 4 / 11
    Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
    2016
    Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
    80.875 x 47.6875 x 4.5 inches
  • 5 / 11
    Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
    2017
    Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
    80.875 x 47.6875 x 4.5 inches
  • 6 / 11
    Office Work (Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner J252B)
    2017
    Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner J252B
    72.5 x 21.5 x 21.5 inches
  • 7 / 11
    Cross-Contaminated Inverted RA4 Contact Print [Black Curl (MYC/Six Magnet/Six Magnet: Los Angeles, California, April 11, 2016, Fujicolor Crystal Archive Super Type C, Em. No. 112-006, Kodak Ektacolor RA Bleach-Fix and Replenisher, 07216), Kreonite KM IV 5225 RA4 Color Processor, Ser. No. 00092174]
    2017
    Color Photographic Paper
    129.125 x 101.625 inches
  • 8 / 11
    Cross-Contaminated Inverted RA4 Contact Print [Black Curl (CYM/Six Magnet/Six Magnet: Los Angeles, California, April 7, 2016, Fujicolor Crystal Archive Super Type C, Em. No. 112-006, Kodak Ektacolor RA Bleach-Fix and Replenisher, 06816), Kreonite KM IV 5225 RA4 Color Processor, Ser. No. 00092174]
    2017
    Color Photographic Paper
    138.5 x 101.625 inches
  • 9 / 11
    Cross-Contaminated Inverted RA4 Contact Print [Black Curl (YCM/Six Magnet/Six Magnet: Los Angeles, California, April 11, 2016, Fujicolor Crystal Archive Super Type C, Em. No. 112-006, Kodak Ektacolor RA Bleach-Fix and Replenisher, 07116), Kreonite KM IV 5225 RA4 Color Processor, Ser. No. 00092174]
    2017
    Color Photographic Paper
    146.125 x 101.625 inches
  • 10 / 11
    Cross-Contaminated Inverted RA4 Contact Print [Black Curl (MCY/Six Magnet/Six Magnet: Los Angeles, California, April 8, 2016, Fujicolor Crystal Archive Super Type C Em. No. 112-006, Kodak Ektacolor RA Bleach-Fix and Replenisher, 07016), Kreonite KM IV 5225 RA4 Color Processor, Ser. No. 00092174]
    2017
    Color Photographic Paper
    122 x 101.625 inches
  • 11 / 11
    Copper Surrogate (60” x 120” 48 ounce C11000 Copper Alloy, 90o Bend, 60” Bisection/5 Sections: April 12–17, 2017/DEINSTALL*, New York, New York)
    2017
    Polished Copper
    11 x 60 x 60 inches (each)
Related Materials

Walead Beshty

Procedurals: Petzel 2014–2017

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Procedurals: Petzel 2014–2017 examines the work of Walead Beshty through four exhibitions: A Machinery for Living (2014), a group exhibition organized by Beshty at Petzel Gallery, New York; Performances Under Working Conditions (2014), a project exhibition of his Copper Surrogate works at Petzel Gallery; Gastarbeiten (2014), the artist’s first solo exhibition at Capitain Petzel, Berlin; and his most recent solo exhibition, Open Source (2017), at Petzel Gallery. Included are full color plates of works and installation views, along with an interview with the artist.

Published by Distanz, Berlin

© 2017 the artist and Distanz

ISBN 978-3-95476-189-0






Walead Beshty

Industrial Portraits, Volume One: 2008-2012

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Walead Beshty started his Industrial Portraits series in 2008. He realizes them wherever he goes, asking all the art people he works with to pose in their working environment and working clothes: studio assistants, gallery staff, curators, lab technicians, critics, fellow artists, collectors, art handlers and even the “machines,” which contribute to an artwork’s progress from studio to gallery and beyond. Captioned first as “framer,” “Fedex courier” or “darkroom assistant” and then identified with the location and date of the shoot, together his models form a nonhierarchical, kaleidoscopic yet very detailed “facebook” of the art world, following in part the tradition of great American anthropological photographic surveys. This publication gathers together the Industrial Portraits created between 2008 and 2012. A second volume will be published to span the subsequent years.

Introduction by Hans Ulrich Obrist

Published by JRP|Ringier, Zürich

© 2017 the artist and JRP|Ringier

ISBN: 978-30376-448-5-0






Walead Beshty

33 Texts: 93,614 Words: 581,035 Characters Selected Writings (2003–2015)

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Published by JRP|Ringier

© 2016 Walead Beshty, JRP|Ringier

ISBN: 978-3-03764-442-3