Art lovers, it’s your last week to pay tribute to one of Tampa’s finest sculptors and view a daringly improvised exhibition at the University of South Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum. Richard Beckman: Outside the Curve of Reason and A Different Frame of Mind exhibitions are coming to an end, but the museum will present a closing reception to celebrate both this Friday on Sept. 5.
USF will present a public dedication of one of the late, great Beckman’s works, donated by his family — “Half a Truth” (1990), pictured — in the green space between the psychology and fine arts colleges, just north of parking lot 9B at the USF Tampa campus at 11 a.m.
The late artist and professor's pieces work together to create unique relationships and dialogues between the forms as bodies. Beckman, an associate art professor and well-known Tampa music scene supporter, was 47 when he died on Christmas Day 2004 of an apparent suicide, leaving many shocked and bereft. On Friday, July 25, the USF art community celebrated what would have been Beckman's 57th birthday.
Beckman’s show provides a well-rounded look at both Beckman’s process and execution, from a display of his idiosyncratic notes to his curvaceous masterworks to a video projection of a performance at Raw Space Gallery in 1987, where the artist invited people to interact in motion with his sculptures.
The video installation according to curator Sarah Howard, “really captures his quest for the viewer to participate in a kinetic relationship with his work.”
USF CAM can be found at 3821 USF Holly Drive, Tampa; hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Admission is free.
Some local artists remember Beckman and shared some tributes with CL, including wife Colleen Beckman. Below is a tribute from Beckman's former student, friend and curator of the retrospective, Ms. Howard herself.
"I don't have any memory of one experience, that was a long time ago. But I just remember Richard as such a generous teacher and friend. He mentored me while I was in grad school, always making the extra effort to encourage my artistic growth and success.
I can't say that I have a favorite piece in the exhibition as I find different pieces compelling for different reasons, process, materials, scale and personal reference. What I enjoy most about the exhibition is seeing the works reunited and how the sculptures relate to one another when grouped together; how the universally accessible, organic shapes and geometric patterns of the sculptures respond and correspond to one another and with the viewer in space.
Richard was focused on the viewer's relationship to the work and his forms entice the viewer through both form and construction. Included in the exhibition is a video projection of a performance at Raw Space Gallery in 1987, where Richard invited people to interact in motion with his sculptures, which really captured his quest for the viewer to participate in a kinetic relationship with the work.
That being said, if I had to pick one piece as a favorite, it would be "Sleeve of Logic," 1995, which Richard generously gave to my husband and me as a wedding present. Richard was playing "the matchmaker" and introduced us while we were both students of his. We asked him to officiate our wedding ceremony, a role he took to heart and performed with great enthusiasm."
—Sarah Howard, Curator of Public Art and Social Practice, USF Institute for Research in Art and curator of Richard Beckman: Beyond the Curve of Reason.