Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mark Beyer: With / Without Text

So, last Thursday me, my wife, and good friend Gigantic Joe Kuth attended the Mark Beyer Retrospective With / Without Text at the Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus, Ohio. I had been looking forward to this for months, and it was every bit as amazing as I had hoped, and more so. Here are some photos from the show, including my wife's awesome reactions to some of the art...

Driving in, the giant Dispatch sign. Is it really true?

The title "With / Without Text" referred to the way in which the exhibit was divided into two sections. The first, "With Text," contained original comic art, posters, flyers and album covers, all of which contained text of some kind or another. The "Without Text" portion showed Beyer's paintings, silkscreens, and objects upon which he had pointed. It was an interesting way to approach his work.

Starting in "With Text"...

A close-up of that piece. Such beautiful, disturbing linework. I never realized until I saw all of this work together how profound an influence Beyer has been on me.

Some of Beyer's original comic art. Always fascinating to see this stuff up close.

A small personal drawing on the bottom of one of the posters...

Peter Brotzmann poster!

I love seeing the original linework and the white-out. The whole process is fascinating and so different from how I work.

My wife was the first to remark on Beyer's strange proclivity toward seemingly dispassionate, penetrative violence and gore.

A Snakefinger LP cover.

My wife, pondering a row of Beyer's LP art.

More LP art.

And the first reaction! See, there are so very many things I love about my wife. I won't list them all because this blog post would never end, but this picture below is one of them. She is so very open, genuine, and demonstrative. She wears her heart on her sleeve and her thoughts are as transparent as glass. She is very openminded and, despite these faces she made, she loved the exhibit as much as I did. But she shows and shares everything, and it is like watching a wonderful, beautiful, hilarious, silly and sometimes histrionic display of passion, fury, joy and disgust. There will be more of this. Trust me.

I've decided that 2013 will be the Year of Noise for us. Lots of noisy noise rock, noise music, noisy jazz (Brotzmann!) and more. So, almost as if it was meant to be, is an LP cover we were both drawn to. See?

And, when I remarked (again) about the Year of Noise, she turned to me and...

In one room, there was a continuous loop of Beyer's Thomas and Nardo from MTV's much beloved (by me, anyway) Liquid Television running.

Now we're into the "Without Text" portion. Some really wonderfully terrifying, bizarre and visceral stuff here. My wife was especially fond of this piece.

As you can no doubt see.

More art.

I own a copy of the silkscreen print on the far left. Still need to get it framed.

Perhaps our favorite piece in the show. Something about this one was just magnetic to my wife and I. We think it was a combination of color, pattern, texture and theme. Powerful.

Now, I love these. My wife explaining her reactions to and thoughts about Beyer's art.

Finally, rounding out the exhibit was an intriguing collection of Beyer's earliest zines, comics and book covers. It was, understandably, in a plexiglas case so I wasn't able to flip through these but just seeing them was a thrill.

Many thanks to Tom Wagner who was the driving force that made this show a reality. Nearly all of the pieces were actually from his private collection, which is astonishing. If you are anywhere near Columbus, find your way to the Urban Arts Space and take a look. This may be a once in a lifetime chance to see a huge collection of Beyer's original pieces all in one place.


  1. This ias a lovely piece, and has re -awakened my love of Mark Beyers strange artworks from way back! I think he has a unique style - psychedelic - tribal I say...Thanks again !

  2. Thank you for this! Mark is a remarkable artist and it is fantastic that his work seems to be regaining visibility and he is getting the respect he richly deserves as an artist.


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