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Invitation to Robert Beckmann's extended show - RETROSPECTIVE

Robert Beckmann

Exhibition extended to June 22, 2013

Now Online:

Artist DiaglogueWriter Doug Unger and artist Robert Beckmann sit down and chat with Dawn-Michelle Baud asking a few questions. View this edited version at www.vastspaceprojects.com

Beckmann CatalogRead Doug Unger's prose, Scott Dickensheets introduction and Dawn-Michelle Baud's critique. www.vastspaceprojects.com

"I identify myself as a vagrant. I like to think about failing better and failing faster. How important it is to stumble and take risks and not do what you know how to do. Somehow that plays into being a vagrant. A lot of people have come here to stumble into some new identity. You have to sort of throw it all to the wind and get lucky. That's where I see Vegas right now. It's stumbling but it's important to do that. It's good it's not too sure of itself." - Robert Beckmann

"This is the city of second chances. This is a place where people who've failed elsewhere could come and if you would work hard, be steady, be somewhat responsible, you could get a whole second chance at redeeming whatever failure you've experienced before." - Doug Unger

"What post-modern, post-industrial capitalism is doing is selling an experience more than selling goods. And that this experience must happen in front of an approving audience. And that's what Las Vegas does better than any other place. We provide the experience and we provide the approving audience." - Doug Unger

"I think in the 21st century, pain and pleasure is related to an ennui and feeling stuck in a rut. That's why people come here to experience what Vegas has to offer and all the madness and actively seek out that chaos so that they can go home and say they had fun." - Doug Unger

"Let's talk about the comic sense Las Vegas has. It's a very funny town. You can look at disjunction in three different ways. As a scientist you can see tow parts that don't fit together as a new matrix. Or if you're a writer or filmmaker, maybe you are struck by the friction those parts have. I prefer the comic approach which is to see things in terms of non sequiturs." - Robert Beckmann

"I find Las Vegas to be - no matter what's going on, the most honest city in America. Like the town itself, if you are standing before a Robert Beckmann painting you get what the painting is is doing. Just how frank and honest they are in representation. There is a narrative going on in the work and it doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is. In a way, that is part of the sublime too. If you want to look at what's frightening and beautiful." - Doug Unger

"Beckmann's five decades of work—from the early abstractions to the major cycles, including the iconographic excursions in Vegas Vanitas, the apocalyptic alchemy in Body of the House, and the metaphorical nexus of the current Underwater series—seem poised to satisfy an art world weary of the wit and irony of postmodernism and in search of richness and depth." - Dawn-Michelle Baud, catalog essay, "Subliminal Risk: The Paintings of Robert Beckmann"

"Much of his work can be "read," its conceptual content teased out, in this rather literary way. And since Beckmann assigns every aspect of his art as much symbolic weight as it will bear, a building is rarely just a building with him. The potential meanings multiply: Buildings stand in for our defenseless bodies, psyches, families, institutions, even society." - "Raze the Roof" Scott Dickensheets. Desert Companion. April 2013

Invitation to Robert Beckmann's extended show - RETROSPECTIVE


Beckmann is a winner of a number of fellowships from the Nevada State Arts Council and the Western States Arts Foundation. A past vice chair of the Las Vegas Arts Commission, he received the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts from the State of Nevada in 1996. He was selected as the publisher's pick for Best Artist in the Las Vegas Review Journal's 1999 The Best of Las Vegas.

Beckmann is best known for his large-scale paintings in an exhibition entitled The Body of a House, which has toured to 20 museums in the United States and St. Petersburg, Russia, and is permanently housed in the Nevada Museum of Art. In this series of eight large-scale canvases, Beckmann reveals the rapid disassembly of a house by a nuclear explosion on the Nevada Test Site. Beckmann is also noted for a series of murals which hang in the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. He is profiled in numerous publications, including William L. Fox's book, Mapping the Empty: Eight Artists and Nevada.


Douglas Unger is the author of four novels, including Leaving the Land, a finalist for the Pulitzer and Robert F. Kennedy awards, and Voices from Silence, a year's end selection of "The Washington Post Book World," and published in 2008 in French translation by Editions/Phebus as Mes frères de sang. His most recent book is Looking for War and Other Stories. His newest fiction and essays are published in "Boulevard," "Southwest Review," "The Writers' Chronicle," and in the anthology West of 98: Living and Writing in the New American West. He serves on the executive boards of "Words Without Borders," "Point of Contact/Punto de Contacto" and The Americas Series with Texas Tech University Press. Douglas Unger is the co-founder of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing International program and Schaeffer Ph.D. with Creative Dissertation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches.

For more information, please contact Shannon Mc Mackin @ 323-240-2888 or VASTspaceprojects@icloud.com

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