Senior Lecturer, BA Fine Art, Chelsea.
Dave Beech is an artist in the collective Freee (with Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan), as well as a writer and curator. He studied painting at Leicester Polytechnic and Cultural Theory the Royal College of Art, where he researched the historical development of the concept of philistinism from Romanticism to Postmodernism. He has written widely on the politics of art, including ‘The Philistine Controversy’ (Verso, 2002, co-authored with John Roberts) and editing a special edition of Third Text (‘Art, Politics, Resistance?’, Vol 16, Issue 4, No 6 ISSN 0952-8822), as well as the legacy of the Avant-Garde and Conceptualism, most recently in ‘Art and Text’ (Blackdog Books, 2011). He has also contributed to debates on participation and art’s publics, in books such as ‘In Search of Art’s New Publics’ and ‘The Pedagogical Turn’, as well as being a founding editor of the journal ‘Art and the Public Sphere’ (Intellect Publishing, from 2011). As an artist he has exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial in 2010 and in the exhibition at BAK, Utrecht as part of the major research project ‘The Former West’. He also curated the exhibition ‘We Are Grammar’ at the Pratt Institute, New York 2011 (co-curator Paul O’Neill).
My research as an artist, writer and curator focuses on three key areas, namely the politics of art, the legacy of the avant-garde, and research into art and the public sphere. These three areas constitute a coherent triangle of intersecting questions in which the politics of art is attached to questions about art’s critical agency and critique of art itself, as well as to the transformation of art’s social relations. My work in the art collective Freee combines these research areas in works that generate temporary counter-public spheres through the use of politicizing slogans that decolonize spaces dominated by marketing, advertising and the state, using the techniques of publishing, protest and performance. I am the Vice Chair of Ixia, the national think tank on public art, an editor of the refereed journal Art and the Public Sphere, and am on the steering committee of the Marxism in Culture group at UCL and I have set up a new research entity at Chelsea under the name Contemporary Marxism Group. My current research looks beyond the politics of art in the narrow sense by developing a systematic Marxist economic analysis of art and culture.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
- FUCK GLOBALIZATION, a solo exhibition attached to an Artist in residence commission, Dartington College of Art, Totnes, UK Dartington College of Art, Totnes, UK, 2010
- How to be Hospitable, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh. UK, 2008.
- Protest is Beautiful, 1000000mph Gallery, London, UK, 2007.
- How to Make a Difference, International Project Space, Bourneville Centre for Visual Arts, Birmingham UK, 2007.
Selected Group Exhibitions
- Touched, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK, 2010.
- Vectors of the Possible, BAK, Utrecht, NL, 2010.
- Joy, Sadness and Desire, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, NL, 2009.
- Generosity is the new political, Wysing Arts, Bourn, Cambridge, UK, 2009. Project selected for the ‘Solo Works’ section at Zoo Art Fair, London, UK, 2009.
- Land of Human Rights, ROTOR, Graz, Austria, 2009. Exhibited also at Bucharest, Pavilion Unicredit, Rumania. 2009.
- Nought to Sixty, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 2008.
Selected Curatorial Projects
- Beech, D. and Paul O’Neill, ‘We Are Grammar’, Pratt Institute, Manhattan, New York, 2011.
- ‘The Ideology of Duration in the Dematerialized Monument: Art, Sites, Publics and Time’, Locating The Producers, O’Neill, P., (editor), Valiz, London, 2011, ISBN 978-9078088516
- ‘Turning the Whole Thing Around: Text Art Today’, Art and Text, Blackdog Books, Selby, A. (editor) London, 2010, ISBN 978-1906155650
- Keynote Essay, ‘Don’t Look Now! Art After the Viewer and Beyond Participation’, Searching for Art’s New Publics, Walwin, J. (editor), Intellect, London, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84150-311-0
- ‘Weberian Lessons’, Curating the Educational Turn, O’Neill, P. (editor), Open Editions, and de Appel, London and Amsterdam, 2010, ISBN 0949004189
- Beech, D., Jordan, M. and Hewitt, A., Functions, Functionality and Functionlessness, in Public Sphere: Between Contestation and Reconciliation. Edited by Azatyan V., National Association of Art Critics Armenian and Plymouth University. (2007), 167- 188, ISBN 99941-949-8-4
- Beech, D., Hutchinson, M and Timberlake, J., Analysis (Transmission: the rules of engagement), Artwords Press, London, 2006, ISBN 978-0954390884
- Beech, D. and Roberts, J., The Philistine Controversy, Verso, London, 2002, ISBN 978-1859843741.
- Beech, D., Beauty, MIT/Whitechapel, London, 2009, ISBN 978-0262512381.
Selected Essays and Articles
- ‘Utopia, Art and Revolution’, Journal: Visual Culture in Britain, Taylor and Francis Group, Oxford, Oxon, OX14 4RN, UK, 2011
- Beech, D., Jordan, M. and Hewitt, A., ‘Changing Spaces, Freee interview Vito Acconci’, Art Monthly, No332 (Dec-Jan 09-10), 1-3 ISSN0142 6702.
- Beech, D., Jordan, M. and Hewitt, A., ‘The New Futurist Manifesto, (revised, expanded and updated)’, Third Text, Special Issue: ‘Art: A Vision of the Future’, 100 vol 23, issue 5, Sept 2009, 597-592, ISSN 0952-882.
Selected Presentations to Conferences
- ‘Beauty, Ideology and Utopia’, Keynote speaker, Association of Art Historians Summer Symposium, Subversive Beauty, Loughborough, organized by the Student Member’s Committee, 2011.
- Beech, D., Jordan, M. and Hewitt, A., ‘Deeper, Stronger, Faster, Longer’, Association of Art Historians Conference, Warwick University, March 2011.
- ‘Twice Political: Towards a Twenty-First Century Marxist Aesthetics’, Historical Materialism Conference, 2011.
- Beech, D., Jordan, M. and Hewitt, A., ‘Post Studio Production, Publishing and the Public Sphere’, Towards Collaborative Curating: Contemporary Curatorial Education in the Age of the Global Art Market, The Association of Art Critics (ACIA – Armenia), Yerevan, Armenia, 2009.
- Beech, D., Jordan, M. and Hewitt, A., ‘A Cultural Critique of Cultural Studies’, Radical Philosophy Conference, Materials and Materialisms, Birkbeck College, University of London, 2007.
- Beech, D., Jordan, M. and Hewitt, A., ‘Utopia, Art and the Counter-Public Sphere’, The Utopian Studies Conference, Plymouth University, UK, 2007.