Barton Lidice Benes, Provocative Artist, Dies at 69
Barton Lidice Benes, a New York sculptor who worked in materials that he called artifacts of everyday life, expanded his definition of “everyday” as he went. He used the everyday mementos of childhood in his early work, and later made sculptures from chopped up, everyday American cash (purchased pre-shredded from the Federal Reserve).
His work dealing with the AIDS epidemic was acclaimed for its raw approach to death. Some of it was so raw that he had difficulty finding art galleries willing to show it. Among his best known works — though it was never exhibited publicly — was his collection of memento mori filling his 850-square-foot Greenwich Village apartment and studio floor to ceiling: thousands of artifacts like tribal masks, animal skeletons, taxidermy, religious relics, voodoo dolls and a stockpile of celebrity ephemera. He called it “my tomb.”
The North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks, which in the early 1990s showed controversial artworks of his that no other galleries would, plans to build a replica of his apartment and furnish it exactly as Mr. Benes left it.
You can read the full article via NY Times here.
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