Untitled (Alex Bag)
from the "Environmental Portraits/Home Studios" series
Patterson Beckwiths "School" at American Fine Arts
American Fine Arts
|Bend It Like Beckwith
by Charlie Finch
Phil Ochs put it best, oh so long ago. . . what was it? Our synapses fail us -- "I wouldnt want to be anybody, outside of a small circle of friends."
Its been a decade since a group of friends at Cooper Union formed "Art Club 2000," a seminal goose for millenart collectives such as Royal Art Lodge. One of their leaders, Daniel McDonald, became the director of American Fine Arts, and another, Patterson Beckwith, Americas finest living photographer.
Pat Hearn died. Colin de Land died. And now American Fine Arts is about to die.
Last Saturday, Danny and Patterson held their last "Bee-in," where we sit around and create fertility art. Their archives are far too rich and varied for even MoMA. When Brent Sikkema expands into the Amfinearts space this fall, where will the archive go? But Brent Sycophant chokes on Colins golden turds, as far as we are concerned.
Meanwhile, go view Patterson Beckwiths latest body of work -- richly colored, poised but not falling into, the tipping point of Kaos.
Our pal Simon Cerigo pointed to a yellow garage space, nondescript, next to the soon-to be extinct American Fine Arts.
"It just sold for $4.5 million," Cerigo told us.
We walked into Danny McDonalds survivalist gallery. "How much is that ravishing shot of Chlöe Sevigny heaving a bucket of water?"
"$685, Charlie, its the first weve sold, edition of five, but they increase on an upward scale."
Get thee to American Fine Arts, oh collectors -- theres a great Beckwith of a Gary Indiana puppet show, theres Alex Bag brandishing a scimitar, and there are much cooler photos of people we dont know.
"See those guys standing on a stack of books under the ceiling fan?" Patterson commented about one of his undulating snapshots.
"Thanks for the check, Charlie," Danny said, "Patterson can now turn his cell phone back on."
Rest in peace, fellas, but then again, dont!
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).