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Walead Beshty (b. 1976)
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION
Walead Beshty (b. 1976)

Six Color Curl (CMMYYC): Irvine California, July 20th 2008, Fuji Crystal Archive Type C

Details
Walead Beshty (b. 1976)
Six Color Curl (CMMYYC): Irvine California, July 20th 2008, Fuji Crystal Archive Type C
color photogram
86 x 49 1/2 in. (218.4 x 125.7 cm.)
Executed in 2008.
Provenance
Wallspace, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2009
Exhibited
Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Directions--Walead Beshty, April-September 2009.

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Saara Pritchard
Saara Pritchard

Lot Essay

The photograms are some of Walead Beshty’s best known works. Incorporating a cameral-less photographic technique first explored in the early 20th century by László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray who created unique prints by placing objects of light sensitive paper. The photograms are created by folding and curling large sheets of photographic paper before exposing them to light, producing colorful and dynamic prisms of color in the process based photographic print. Known also for his sculptural work which similarly incorporates a conceptual process of chance, as shatter proof glass boxes are shipped via FedEx, the resulting damage incurred during shipment very much the subject of these sculptures. As large-scale and enchantingly beautiful abstractions, the photograms are also fascinating in their conceptual turn, capturing the elusive process behind the works’ manufacture. The artist explains, "I wouldn’t use the word abstract to describe my work, especially the work that the term is usually associated with. I consider those works, the photograms or X-ray photographs, to be literal, meaning that they aren’t abstractions of a particular subject matter, but are concrete manifestations of a specific set of conditions. I resist the term abstraction because it is a false delimiter, and tends to stop certain fundamental questions from being asked. In contemporary art, abstraction is used as a shorthand for a certain set of formal traits, the absence of figuration being one, but as a category it lacks any real solidity, unless it’s used as a proper name for a particular historical movement. Abstraction tends to describe the way an object is approached and our expectations of it, rather than anything inherent, lending these assumptions an air of concreteness. I resist the term because it is a false delimiter, and tends to stop certain fundamental questions from being asked. Claiming abstraction, in anything but a naive sense, seems a melancholic negation of the Utopian arguments that abstraction, as an agglomeration of historical movements, implies (i.e. a site of unfettered subjectivity, transcendental meaning, or the proposition of a materialist revolutionary project within art), because it reduces these arguments to a set of formal similarities" (W. Beshty, quoted in C. Bedford, "Depth of Field," Frieze, Issue 125, September 2009).


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