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Picture This: David Beck
January 12, 2007

David Beck's MVSEVM

David Beck's MVSEVM

Joseph Cornell paved the way for artists like David Beck. Beck was commissioned to create MVSEVM to commemorate the reopening of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in July of this year, and Cornell's influence is apparent: when closed, the model takes the shape of the Old Patent Office Building, but it opens to reveal miniature artifacts and artworks as well as drawers containing smaller models. Cornell invited sculptors to investigate the interior space of a sculpture—to investigate its moving parts, its guts. Beck complies.

The artist's other work at American Art is Movie Palace, which is on view in the Luce Center. Inside the tiny theater plays an animation showing moviegoers looking for seats, viewers snacking on popcorn and soda, and a couple making out, while King Kong plays on the screen. The opulent movie house is made with linden, walnut, and boxwood marquetry, as well as exotic natural materials like seashells and egg shells; his magpie approach to materials recalls Cornell directly.

Posted by Kriston on January 12, 2007 in American Art Here, Picture This


More than anything by Joseph Cornell this brings to my mind Marcel Duchamp's Boîte-en-valise (often described as a portable museum), which was designed as a collection of historical artworks (in this case Duchamp's own) displayed together in a carefully designed box, which (unlike Cornell's work) invited the participation of the viewer.

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