LEATHER, RUBBER, LACES.
ON LOAN FROM THE CLOSET COLLECTION.
Shoes have been an integral part of Beck’s work since the 1980s. Although some of the earliest pairs have been preserved in bronze, most of the famous examples, including the Doc Martens he wore to a Meat Puppets show, have been thrown out in accordance with the wishes of his girlfriend.
Shoes, 2008 is a rare example of the “dress shoe” series. These pieces are characterized by high-gloss leather, stiff backs that chafe the ankle, and thin, blister-inducing soles. They tend to get used once every six months, when another one of his girlfriend’s 10,000 cousins gets married.
Brown Couch, 1999
POLYESTER FILL, ASSORTED STAINS.
Undoubtedly one of Beck’s best-known works, Brown Couch, 1999 was first shown at the Salvation Army in Poughkeepsie, New York, and has since been a centerpiece in all but one of his full-scale exhibitions.
Its distinctive form, created by the absence of one armrest, draws viewers in and allows sitters to choose between a chaise-longue position and a more conventional posture. Although it has received critical acclaim from all his tall friends, and is where Jack and Kate first made out, recent revisionist critiques by his girlfriend have focused on its threadbare cushions, which are stained on both sides.
PLASTIC, GLASS, ASSORTED WIRES.
COURTESY OF MY MOTHER.
Television, 2004 is a reworking of DVDs on My Laptop, 2000. For years, Beck struggled to find a way to “tune out after a hard day” and, after some early experiments, realized that shorter, less-engrossing story lines better suited his needs. So, when his mother’s new boyfriend talked her into buying a flat screen for the living room, he switched media.
Television, 2004 sits dormant most of the time, but during and after dinner on weekdays it occasionally becomes a visual centerpiece, prompting allegiances to programs like Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll, which, regardless of what his girlfriend thinks, is actually a pretty good show.
Jade Plant, 2006
JADE PLANT, SOIL, TERRA-COTTA POT.
Jade Plant, 2006 is the last surviving part of the Window Sill exhibition of the same year. Started as a way to showcase responsibility and give off an earthy, environmental vibe to his not yet live-in girlfriend, the vegetation-based display failed when he went away to New Mexico for three weeks and didn’t ask anyone to water the plants.
Despite long periods of continued neglect, Jade Plant, 2006 has remained alive and mostly green. It frequently elicits the question “Is that thing dead?”
POLYURETHANE, SANDPAPER, RUBBER.
COURTESY OF CHRIS DOGG.
In the mid-1990s, Beck became interested in the skateboard as a means to being awesome. Since then, he has kept one handy.
This iteration, “a sweet natural deck with cruiser wheels,” is “perfect for getting around” and “rules.” He doesn’t care that it “marks up the walls” and that “he never rides it,” and wishes his girlfriend would “back off.”