Betty Beaumont


September 8th to October 11th, 2014

3A Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of New York based artist Betty Beaumont.

Beaumont has for years produced thoughtful and provocative work in a variety of media including photography, installations, public interventions and new media. Her work challenges global social awareness, as well as socioeconomic and ecological practices. Beaumont has investigated such issues as energy and species diversity and is also involved with solution-based sustainability strategies, which reflect contemporary, historic and cultural perspectives and environmental and social conditions.

Beaumont’s exhibition That Obscure Object Of Desire takes the idea of the object of desire and all of the myths that surround it and puts into three works ideas which deconstruct the fetishized icons of beauty and the branding of identity.

With the tools of deconstruction and notions of sexuality and representation, Beaumont uses three elements. First, the language of narcissism; second, questioning the idea of beauty in a crushed shopping bag first presented in two dimensions as a photograph, then as a moving object on a pedestal; and finally, the motor, which is simultaneously functional and a symbol of the machine behind advertising, branding and the loss of autonomy and identity.

The photograph Crushed 001 (2012) takes the three-dimensional bag out of reality and puts it in a frame, flattening the image of the bag (the photographed object), becoming the symbol of the symbol, that which we desire to possess. The bag remains pristine, inviolate, removed from our ability to touch or grasp.

The sculpture Untitled (Crushed, yellow with black) #332 (2014) presents the bag on a moving pedestal heightening the allure of the artifact under glass. The way it is presented as sculpture is enhanced by placing it in the vitrine, removed from the individual. The brand or the logo is hidden the way the seductiveness is hidden. Yet there is still a recognition. The sculpture is understood by experiencing both front and back of the work. The sound of the motor turning the bag on the pedestal suggests the sound of voracious consumption. The sound lures the viewer to view the motor, which is also encased in glass. Although the bag has been crushed it is not detritus. We want to own, touch or posses it. In its cast off state it is fetishized as a precious object. The recent implosion of the economy crushed the bag, transforming it into a sculpture that has architectural references, no longer retaining its original use. The on-going Untitled (Crushed) works are part of a project begun in 2008 with the Great Recession.

I’d Rather Be… (1991) is a full-length mirror work that borrows a quote from Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto “I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess,” and prints it horizontally near the top of the mirror. When one looks into the mirror while contemplating beauty of the self, one is struck by a statement across one’s body that poses the question, What forms the lens you see yourself through? This deconstructive comment cuts the myth of beauty in two.

The sculpture Untitled (Crushed, yellow with black) is indeed on a pedestal like an object of desire. That Obscure Object Of Desire.

Betty Beaumont has received numerous grants and awards including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of California at Berkeley, Creative Capital Foundation grants, National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and grants, New York State Council on the Arts fellowships and Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants. She has shown at museums and galleries around the world including The Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt, Whitney Museum of Art, MoMA P.S. 1, Queens Museum, Carriage Trade Gallery (NYC), American Fine Art (NYC), Damon Brandt Gallery (NYC), Hudson River Museum (Yonkers, NY), Katonah Museum (Katonah, NY), National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan), Museum Het Domein (Sittard, Netherlands), Bibliotéca Nacional José Marti (Havana, Cuba), Galerie Engstrom (Stockholm, Sweden), Bea Voigt Galerie (Munich, Germany), Stalinova Pomniku, Letenske Plani (Prague, Czech Republic), Ota Gallery (Tokyo, Japan) and the Richard Demarco Gallery (Edinburgh, Scotland). Texts on Beaumont’s work have been written about by a number of art historians and critics including Nancy Princenthal, Jeffrey Kastner, Brian Wallis, Gary Indiana, Martin Kemp, Patricia C. Philliips, Kay Larson, Michael Kimmelman, Amanda Boetzkes, Barbara Metilsky, Sara Selwood, Kim Levin, Amy Gamerman, Marilu Knode, Amber Vilas, Peter Scott and Robert Stefanotti. Beaumont has held academic appointments at the University of California at Berkeley, SUNY Purchase, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, New York University and Columbia University in New York City.

3A Gallery is located at 179 Canal Street, New York, NY 10013. Gallery hours are Friday and Saturday from 11:00am—5:00pm and by appointment:

3A Gallery
179 Canal Street, #5A, New York, NY 10013