Saturday, January 9, 2010

Peter Beard

I am a fan...










About the artist:
Born in New York City in 1938, Peter Beard began taking photographs and keeping diaries from early childhood. By the time he graduated from Yale University, he had developed a keen interest in Africa. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s he worked in Tsavo Park, the Aberdares, and Lake Rudolf in Kenya’s northern frontier. His first show came in 1975 at the Blum Helman Gallery, and was followed in 1977 by the landmark installation of elephant carcasses, burned diaries, taxidermy, African artifacts, books and personal memorabilia at New York’s International Center for Photography. In addition to creating original artwork, Beard has also worked as a Vogue photographer and collaborated on projects with Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Richard Linder, Terry Southern, Truman Capote, and Francis Bacon. In 1996, shortly after Beard was trampled by an elephant, his first major retrospective took place at the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, France, followed by shows in Berlin, London, Milan, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Vienna, among others. He lives in New York City, Long Island, and Kenya with his wife, Nejma, and daughter, Zara.

Photographer, collector, diarist, and writer of books Peter Beard has fashioned his life into a work of art; the illustrated diaries he kept from a young age evolved into a serious career as an artist and earned him a central position in the international art world. He was painted by Francis Bacon, painted on by Salvador DalĂ­, and made diaries with Andy Warhol; he toured with Truman Capote and the Rolling Stones, created books with Jacqueline Onassis and Mick Jagger - all of whom are brought to life, literally and figuratively, in his work. As a fashion photographer, he took Vogue stars like Veruschka to Africa and brought new ones - most notably Iman - back to the U.S. with him.

His love affair with natural history and wildlife, which informs most of his work, began when he was a teenager. He had read the books of Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) and after spending time in Kenya and befriending the author, bought a piece of land near hers. It was the early 1960s and the big game hunters led safaris, with all the colonial elements Beard had read about in Out of Africacharacterizing the open life and landscape, but the times were changing. Beard witnessed the dawn of Kenya's population explosion, which challenged finite resources and stressed animal populations - including the starving elephants of Tsavo, dying by the tens of thousands in a wasteland of eaten trees. So he documented what he saw - with diaries, photographs, and collages. He went against the wind in publishing unique and sometimes shocking books of these works. The corpses were laid bare; the facts were carefully written down, sometimes in type, often by hand, occasionally with blood.

Peter Beard's most important collages are included, along with hundreds of smaller-scale works and diaries, magnified to show every detail - from Beard's meticulous handwriting and old-masters-inspired drawings to stones and bones and bits of animals pasted to the page.

1 comment:

  1. I love love love this! Isak Dinesen is one of my favorite authors, it's like he brought her works to life in a divinely glamorous way.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails