Laboring Over Walead Beshty’s Bodies / Hyperallergic

Installation view, ‘Walead Beshty: Selected Bodies of Work’ (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

Installation view, ‘Walead Beshty: Selected Bodies of Work’ (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — Walead Beshty’s solo exhibition at Regen Projects, Selected Bodies of Work, claims to “address bodies and labor as they are rendered visible in or on the art object.” Where and what are these bodies and labor? Similar questions come to mind when considering the pop art sculptures of Jeff Koons, but in Koons’s work, we see only the finished, gleaming product (and can assume the artist-as-laborer is hardly receiving the one-on-one interaction that an artist assistant job typically offers). In Beshty’s work, some of the labor involved is rendered visible — smudged hands appear on the surface of his copper surrogates and in the ink of his floor-to-ceiling contact prints. But the work always belongs to Beshty, the artist/director of the show. His name is on each piece. To call them collaborative creations — of both the people who made the appropriated original objects and the artmakers themselves — would offer authorship to someone who’s not the artist. Is Beshty replicating the same conditions of the capitalist system that he’s critiquing?

Read the full post on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/115939/laboring-over-walead-beshtys-bodies/