This artist's monograph accompanied Beshty's 2009 show titled Pulleys, Cogwheels, Mirrors, and Windows at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in their Project Gallery where their exhibition series, UMMA Projects, is housed.
Working across a range of media, London-born, Los Angeles-based artist Walead Beshty has consistently explored the boundaries between politics and aesthetics, consumption and critique. In his most recent work, Beshty has undertaken a meticulous investigation into the conditions and processes of artistic production. His monumentally-scaled photograms, created by folding large sheets of unexposed photo paper into three-dimensional forms and exposing them to variously-colored lights, produce geometric fields in which areas of sumptuous color are interwoven with passages of intense luminosity. In a related series of sculptures—comprised of shatterproof glass boxes sized to the volume of the FedEx shipping boxes in which they are transported (and which double as pedestals)—Beshty extends his inquiry beyond physical materials and technical processes to include the means by which artworks exist, circulate, and accrue value after they leave the studio. In addition to the challenge they pose to normative ideas about conservation and value, Beshty's boxes also ask us to rethink our notion of what an individual work “looks” like, as their appearance changes with each showing.
Text by Jacob Proctor and James Christen Steward
Published by University of Michigan Museum of Art
© 2009 Walead Beshty, Michigan Museum of Art and the authors