Artist of the moment…..Barton Benes…

The artist was born in 1942 in the city of Hackensack, New Jersey.  He was known for making shadow box like works of art. These works of art are very personable and sometimes include famous people and celebrity events. Some examples would be a piece done using a piece of cake from the first wedding of Prince Charles. Another example would be using a piece of clothing from an outfit warn by Elizabeth Taylor. He also made many sculptures using shredded american currency he got directly from the Treasury Department. A wonderful example is of the crown of thorns made out of U.S. currency. Very interesting as to how these works can be interpreted.

For his collegiate education the artist attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He also studied at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, France.

In this clip see a piece of artwork with the subject being a grizzly bear done by Benes. The piece is made up of hundreds of sea shells collected by the artist. In the gallery above the drawers are where he kept his many found items kept to be used in his artwork.

In this clip Benes talks about his donation to the North Dakota Museum of Art.

Benes developed AIDS and passed away from the disease in 2012 at the age of 69 years old.

His works are included in the Chicago Art Institute, the Museum of American Art, he National Gallery of Australia, and the North Dakota Museum of Art.

Benes was involved in two movies during his lifetime. One was titled Gay Sex in the 70s and this was documentary in which he gave an interview. Another was a documentary film made about Benes’ artwork in 1997 and  show titled AIDS, LETHAL WEAPON.

Price range info: He worked in many different styles and mediums and when works come to auction they can usually be found for a few thousand dollars.

When he passed away he left all of his belongings to the North Dakota Museum. He loved the place and spoke of it often very fondly. If there was one place in the world I could live it would be North Dakota. I guess this was before the fracking and the balkan shale finds!

If I was to compare the artist to a more modern painter it would be Joseph Cornell. Cornell used shadow boxes and would use his own experiences in his art. Since shadow box artists are hard to come by I have included a clip rather than just one picture to see Mr. Cornell’s work. I will do a full post on Joseph Cornell  later this week.


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