David Beck

David Beck’s work is inspired by 17th century des Cabinets de Curiosités. From carved wood, brass, and paint, Beck creates a fantasia of nature that is both humorous and ominous. These intimately scaled and intricately crafted figures of moths, fish, and elephants fly, swim, and bare their fangs by means of small hand cranks. As John Parks has written, ‘initially the senses are entertained by the extravagant detail of the carving, the intricate movements of the figures and the curious sounds they sometimes make. The works invite wonder in the same way a marvelous and complicated toy captivates a child.’
Although it references Joseph Cornell, German Gothic carving, American folk art, Outsider art, Asian art, comic book humor, European cabinetry, and certain 18th century European mechanical toys, Beck’s work is without peer in contemporary art. His work has been exhibited in many major national and international museums, including the Fundació ‘la Caixa’ in Barcelona, Spain, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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