Exposition Art Blog: Barton Lidicé Benes - Conceptual art

Barton Lidicé Benes - Conceptual art

Barton Lidicé Beneš (1942-2012) was born in Westwood, New Jersey on November 16, 1942. Beneš first came to prominence during the 1980s with his whimsical constructions of shredded currency and later with his signature “museums,” gridded arrangements of relics from Ancient Egypt to Hollywood. He transformed fragments of our throwaway culture into art that sometimes addressed taboo subjects and often used unconventional materials including cremation ashes, shells, bodily fluids, currency and shredded money, relics, celebrity artifacts and found objects. Beneš was a first-generation veteran of the AIDS crisis and chronicled his own HIV+ status in Lethal Weapons, a series of works created with his own blood. This exhibit toured Europe in the 1990s and traveled to Lund, Sweden, where authorities intervened and demeaned installation be heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in a hospital oven to make it “safe” for public viewing. These provocative pieces confront HIV/AIDS head-on, blending political activism, visual poetry and a wicked sense of humor, forcing viewers to face their fears of death and transmission. His work continues to serve as a symbol of resistance, engaging a new generation in the evolving conversation about art and AIDS.
At the forefront of New York’s burgeoning gay scene in the post-Stonewall era, Beneš was also featured in numerous documentaries about art, AIDS and gay history, including Lovett Productions’ Gay Sex in the 70s. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at The Cleveland Museum of Art; North Dakota Museum of Art; The Katonah Museum of Art; The New York Public Library; and Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as Centre Pompidou, Paris; Boras Konstmuseum, Sweden; and Old Town Hall, Prague. His work is in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Smithsonian, The U.S. Mint and North Dakota Museum of Art. Beneš is represented by Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York.(visualaids.org)

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