Thursday night, a lovely September evening to be out in Chelsea admiring great works of art by top contemporary artists.
Mark Beard is an artist whose smart and playful creativity literally manifests in the form of different characters. His solo exhibition titled “Alter Egos” is a cohesive show containing many different scales, techniques, eras and styles of painting as Bruce Sargeant, Hippolyte-Alexandre Michallon, Edith Thayer Cromwell, Brechtholt Streeruwitz, Peter Coulter, Beard Beard, Buggereau, and Princess Ormolu. Although, he works with a diverse selection of models, in many of his paintings their faces have perhaps an intentional common appearance. Moreover, the presentation of the show was professional and well executed. The show’s success comes from connecting the title to the body of work and knowing about the artist. The beauty of this understanding adds a sense of humor to the show, a clever way of the artist communicating with his audience.
The gallery’s atmosphere was exciting, people were there specifically to celebrate and buy many of Mr. Beard’s art pieces.
In conclusion, the opening reception was well received by a large group of people (celebrities, friends, fellow artists and show goers) in attendance. From beginning to end of the night, the gallery was completely filled with people enjoying themselves, snacks, libations and of course great conversations. I would rate the overall experience highly and recommend it to others.
The show will remain on view through October 11th.
ClampArt Gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 – 6pm.
About The Artist
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1956, Mark Beard is a well-established artist living in New York City with artworks in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Princeton University, New Jersey; among many, many others. (C.A.)
Mr. Beard is a versatile artist who channels his creativity through multiple mediums. In his Hell’s Kitchen open space studio, Mr. Beard creates and stores a large collection of his work including sculptures, upholsteries, photographs, paintings and more.
After spending time with Mr. Beard, I noticed a few interesting things about him that can be traced to his success. He is very involved in the installation of his work from designing custom details of frames to assembling his work on site. In addition, he is the kind of artist who would work on a painting until he feels that is ready, meaning that he is willing to work on a particular piece for many months or even years if necessary.
A visit to Mark Beard’s studio is akin to discovering Michelangelo’s lair: oil paintings cover the walls; life drawings are scattered on the tops of tables nestled at the feet of heroic bronzes; and ceramics and architectural maquettes abound—virtuosity in every medium. But then it gets even more interesting. Beard’s talents and artistic energy are in such abundance that over twenty years back he began channeling his creative output into a variety of alter egos. The persona of “Bruce Sargeant” was the first conceived—an imaginary British artist born in 1898 and a contemporary of such intellectuals as E.M. Forster, Rupert Brooke, and John Sloan. Then came Sargeant’s teacher, Hippolyte-Alexandre Michallon (1849-1930), a 19th-century French Academician. The fraternity continued to grow with other students of Michallon’s, such as Edith Thayer Cromwell (1893-1962), an American avant-garde painter and close friend of Sargeant’s; in addition to Brechtholt Streeruwitz (1890-1973), a troubled German Expressionist and arch-rival of Beard’s original alter ego. Mark Beard is certainly unprecedented, but not singular. Accomplished in every medium, he is more than a complete artist—he is now at least eight or nine, working in as many distinct and unique styles.
“Alter Egos” at ClampArt is a showcase of works by Beard’s first five personae—Bruce Sargeant (1898-1938), Hippolyte-Alexandre Michallon (1849-1930), Edith Thayer Cromwell (1893-1962), Brechtholt Streeruwitz (1890-1973), and contemporary African-American painter Peter Coulter (b. 1948). However, recently more artists have emerged, and the exhibition will feature paintings by Beard’s newest personalities, including the Hudson River School painter Beard Beard (b. 1885), the queer contemporary figure Buggereau (b. 1956), and transsexual graffiti artist Princess Ormolu (b. 1979).