Walead Beshty

United Kingdom 1976

Sculpture, Photography

Walead Beshty
Walead Beshty
United Kingdom
December 26, 2014

When people fail to understand something, they tend to brand it as abstract, like in the case of Walead Beshty. He objects to those attempts, focusing instead on material inscription of the structural conditions and possibilities of his chosen medium – photography. Aside from active artistic career, he has also spent a lot of time writing, covering the variety of media, including cinema, sculpture, photography, and painting, and analyzing the work of many of his contemporaries. Large-scale photograms are his most famous works, but his sculptural endeavors don’t go unnoticed.

Walead Beshty has museum exhibitions including london site in 2009 and 2013 search the press, they make large paper headlines
Walead Beshty – Six Color Curl (CMMYYC- Irvine, California, July 18th 2008, Fuji Crystal Archive Type C), 2008 – image courtesy of Thomas Dane Gallery


Born in London, of Libyan father is and American mother, the Beshty grew up in Pennsylvania. He studied at the Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, where he earned his BA in 1999, and at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT, where he obtained his MFA in 2002.[1] He is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Art Department at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, and has taught at numerous schools including University of California, Los Angeles; the California Institute of the Arts; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; University of California, Irvine; and the MFA Program at Bard College. He discovered the darkroom in high school and became fascinated with how photographs are made.[2] Beshty has long maintained an active writing career alongside his work in the visual arts. Writing on a variety of media, including essays on cinema, painting, sculpture and photography, and texts on artists such as Jay DeFeo, Sharon Lockhart, Kelley Walker, Luisa Lambri, Annette Kelm and Michael Asher, among others, he has been widely published in both books and magazines.[3] Most famous for photography, the artist also creates sculptures and works in a manner of post-conceptualism. Interested in “…creating a mode of production that is neither a cynical re-celebration of the dismantling of photographic meaning, nor an anodyne and amnesic revelry in photographic spectacle”, Beshty exploits photography’s formal qualities and historical contradictions to activate and politicize the seemingly neutral elements of image making.[4]

He became fascinated with photography in high school

Walead Beshty museum and galleries make a good places for exhibiting pieces like this, where he applied search and use paper mechanisms that began in 2009
Walead Beshty – A Partial Disassembling of an Invention without a Future Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in which the Pulleys and Cogwheels are Lying around at Random All over the Workbench, 2014 – image courtesy of Petzel Gallery

Notable Works

Island Flora (2005), is a series of color photographs of planted highway median spaces, commonly known as traffic islands.[5] He created them shortly after moving to Los Angeles because he found something compelling in these areas of lush vegetation that are visible by anyone who drives past them, but at the same time, completely inaccessible and isolated. Beshty’s Travel Pictures (2006/08) is a series of photographs that were damaged by X-rays when they were put trough airport security. These works had their beginnings in 2001 when the artist took the photographs in the abandoned Iraqi diplomatic office to the former DDR in Berlin. After the 9/11 and the subsequent Iraqi war, the photographer chose not to show these images, but since they were damaged, he did show the resulting prints that were distorted and pinky-purple, with a green glare on the images which shifted their subject focus to that of visible markers of invisible borders – a reference both to the limbo of airport security and to the limbo status of the embassy.

FedEx pieces are various glass sculptures constructed with dimensions to fit perfectly inside FedEx postal boxes. What is interesting about these works is that they operate under sets of rules, both by FedEx and Beshty. For every new exhibition, these pieces are sent (off course by FedEx) to their destination and displayed on top of their packing boxes. Any type of travel damage that may occur in the sculptures, like chips and cracks in the glass, become a part of the show and serve as visible markers of their otherwise invisible journeys. In September 2014, Beshty had an exhibition at the London’s Barbican Centre, where he showed an installation of over 12,000 blue cyanotype photograms titled A Partial Disassembling of an Invention Without a Future: Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in Which the Pulleys and Cogwheels Are Lying Around at Random All Over the Workbench. These prints were made on materials such as newspaper pages, sugar sachets, business cards, flattened-out cardboard boxes, as well as the objects exposed on them, such as paintbrushes, a hammer, scissors, s spoon, a G-clamp – all of which being the tools, debris or remnants from the artist practice.

The use of simple tools, debris or remnants from Beshty’s practice leads to the creation of masterpieces

Walead Beshty besides paper photography, he also makes sculptures that are on view as installations at museum
Walead Beshty – FedEx Golf-Bag Box 2010 FedEx 163166 REV 10/10, Standard Overnight, Los Angeles-Miami trk#797200541310, November 20-21, 2013, Standard Overnight, Miami-New York trk#800957210491, February 03-04, 2014, 2012 – image courtesy of Thomas Dane Gallery

A Perfect Example of Contemporary Art

Beshty began working with the materiality of the photograph because it seemed to like a way out of what he felt were suffocating conventions.[6] It has allowed him to rethink his approach but to also rethink the whole history of photography, to work within what he perceived as a gap in that history, a possibility that seemed open, while at the same time solving some immediate problems that he was confronting with regard to images. Leaning on Duchamp’s understanding that the viewer completes the piece, Beshty doesn’t stop when he achieves that relationship – he pushes further, questioning how the convention is used, making it present in the room, considering how it could be manipulated or modified, observing the social agreement that constitutes the art object as dynamic, rather than static.

Walead Beshty lives and works in Los Angeles.


  1. Anonymous. Walead Beshty, Wikipedia [September 5, 2016]
  2. Belcove J. L. Inside Artist Walead Beshty’s Work, DUJOUR [September 5, 2016]
  3. Baker G., Bovier L. Walead Beshty 33 Texts: 93,614 Words: 581,035 Characters: Selected Writings (2003-2015) By Walead Beshty, JRP | Ringier, Zurich, 2016
  4. Anonymous. Walead Beashty, Pomeranz Collection [September 5, 2016]
  5. Sumpter H. Walead Beshty, Art Review [September 5, 2016]
  6. Nickas B. Walead Beshty in Conversation with Bob Nickas, Petzel Gallery [September 5, 2016]

Featured image: Walead Beshty in front of The Rose, image via whitney.org

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2016AutomatGalerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2016Making & UnmakingCamden Arts Centre, London, United KingdomGroup
2016Pieces MeublesGalerie Patrick Seguin, Paris, FranceGroup
2016Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless PhotographGovettBrewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New ZealandGroup
2016El Orden Natural De Las CosasMuseo Jumex, Mexico City, MexicoGroup
2016The Space BetweenMassachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MassachusettsGroup
2016Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection — From Shohaku and Rosanjin to Anselm KieferYokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, JapanGroup
2015DisponiblesTravesia Cuatro, Guadalajara, MexicoSolo
2015Walead BeshtyGreat Hall Exhibition, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York, NYSolo
2015Walid AlBeshtiRegen Projects, Los Angeles, CASolo
2015All the World’s Futures56th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, ItalyGroup
2015You've Got to Know the Rules ... to Break ThemDe La Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Miami, FL
2015Everything Must Go: Art and the MarketLewis Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork, Ireland
2015Blind ArchitectureThomas Dane Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2015Gimmie Gimmie GimmieCincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery, Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, OH
2015At the Hub of Things: New Views of the CollectionHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
2015New SkinAishti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
2015Arreter de me copierFRAC Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Dunkirk, France
2015Selections from MOCA's Permanent CollectionThe Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
2015Artists at WorkIris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
2015A Blind Man in His GardenPOOL at LUMA/Westbau, Zurich, Switzerland
2015After Picasso: 80 Contemporary ArtistsWexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH
2015Threads: A Fantasmagoria about Distance10th Kaunas Biennial, M.K. Ciurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas, Lithuania
2015No Place Like Home: Selections from the Sue and John Wieland Collection of Contemporary ArtBrigham Young University Museum of Art, Provo, UT
2015Old News (again)Le Centre National Edition Art Image, Chatou, France
2015Open RhapsodyBeirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon
2015An Imprecise ScienceArtspace, Sydney, Australian
2015Atopolis/Wiels at Mons 2015Manege de Sury, Mons, Belgium
2015Picasso in Contemporary ArtDeichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany
201575 Gifts for 75 YearsWalker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
2015Revelations: Experiments in PhotographyMedia Space, Science Museum, South Kensington, United Kingdom
2015Repetition and DifferenceThe Jewish Museum, New York, NY
2015Works on PaperGalerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Switzerland
2015Linear AbstractionGutstein Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA
2015Partial PresenceZabludowicz Collection, London, United KingdomGroup
2015Walead BeshtyBarbican Art Gallery, LondonSolo
2015Chassés-Croisés – Tours Et Détours Autour Du DétroitFRAC - Nord-Pas de Calais, DunkerqueGroup
2015Damage ControlArt and Destruction Since 1950 - Kunsthaus Graz, GrazGroup
2014Walead Beshty - MarginaliaThomas Dane Gallery, LondonSolo
2014Walead Beshty - GastarbeitenCapitain Petzel Gallery, BerlinSolo
2014Walead BeshtyFriedrich Petzel Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2014Walead Beshty - Selected Bodies Of WorkRegen Projects, Los Angeles, CASolo
2014Walead Beshty + Kelley WalkePaula Cooper Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2014BlackoutGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BrusselsGroup
2014A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the StudioMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYGroup
2014Trouble with the IndexUCR, California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CAGroup
2013Walead Beshty: UntitledThe Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MASolo
20130 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary ArtPratt Manhattan Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Le Futur Commence IciFRAC - Nord-Pas de Calais, DunkerqueGroup
2013Pattern: Follow The RulesMuseum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver, COGroup
2013Somos LibresMATE (Asociación Mario Testino), LimaGroup
2013More American PhotographsUCR, California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CAGroup
2013Comic FutureBallroom Marfa, Marfa, TXGroup
2013Dressed In GrayCharlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2013Lens DrawingGalerie Marian Goodman, ParisGroup
20130 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary ArtNorth Carolina Museum of Art,Raleigh, NCGroup
2013Pattern: Follow The RulesBroad Art Museum, East LansingGroup
2013CorrespondencesEspace Louis Vuitton Paris, ParisGroup
2013When Attitudes Became Form Become AttitudesMuseum of Contemporay Art Detroit, Detroit, MIGroup
2013More American PhotographsWexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OHGroup
2013The UnphotographableFraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2012Travel PicturesThomas Dane Gallery, LondonSolo
2012The Endless RenaissanceBass Museum of Art, Miami, FLGroup
2012Lost & Found: Anonymous Photography In ReflectionAmbach & Rice, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2012Seuls quelques fragments de nous toucheront quelques fragments d’autruiGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisGroup
2012Inside Out and From the Ground UpMOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland,Cleveland, OHGroup
2012OC CollectsOrange County Museum of Art, Newport BeachGroup
20129th Shanghai BiennaleShanghai Biennale, ShanghaiGroup
2012Inaugural Exhibition By Gallery ArtistsRegen Projects, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2012When Attitudes Became Form Become AttitudesCCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts,San Francisco, CAGroup
2012I'm thinking how happy I amWestern Bridge, Seattle, WAGroup
2012PaperMAMAC - Musee d´Art Moderne et d`Art Contemporain Nice, NiceGroup
2012Status 24 - Dokumente Von HeuteFotomuseum Winterthur, WinterthurGroup
2012Everyday Abstract - Abstract Everyday James Cohan Gallery - New York, New York City, NYGroup
2012Fremde Überall – Foreigners EverywhereZeitgenössische Kunst aus der Pomeranz Collection- Jüdisches Museum Wien, ViennaGroup
2012More American PhotographsMuseum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver, COGroup
2012Devouring timeWestern Bridge, Seattle, WAGroup
2012Out of ControlNest, The HagueGroup
2012I Think And That Is All That I AmThomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2011Walead Beshty - Securities and ExchangesUCCA - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art,BeijingSolo
2011Walead BeshtyGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BrusselsSolo
2011Walead Besthy - A Diagram Of ForcesCA2M - Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, MadridSolo
2011Walead BeshtyRegen Projects, Los Angeles, CASolo
2011Walead Beshty – A diagram of forcesMalmö Konsthall, MalmöSolo
2011Eslov Wide Shut Part IMallorca Landings, Palma de MallorcaGroup
2011Signed, Sealed, DeliveredZach Feuer Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2011Christmas Group ShowBernier Eliades Gallery, AthensGroup
2011To Make A FlameFourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, ORGroup
2011More American PhotographsCCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CAGroup
2011The War in VietnamRedling Fine Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2011The Boy Who Robbed You A Few Minutes Before Arriving At The BallGalerie Gisela Capitain,CologneGroup
2011Intentions fragilesGalerie les filles du calvaire, ParisGroup
2011Intentions fragilesGalerie Les filles du calvaire, BrusselsGroup
2011Out of Storage: Provisoire & Définitif - MarresCentre for Contemporary Culture, MaastrichtGroup
2011Catalogue of the ExhibitionTriple V, ParisGroup
2011La Biennale de Montréal 2011Biennale de Montréal, Montreal, QCGroup
2011The Smithson EffectUtah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UTGroup
2011Intimate Bureaucracies: Art And The MailArt Exchange, ColchesterGroup
2011Black Swan: The ExhibitionRegen Projects, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2011What's New, Pussycat?Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CAGroup
2011Anti-PhotographyFocal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, EssexGroup
2011Testing GroundZabludowicz Collection London, LondonGroup
2010Bedtime for BonzoM+B, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010Pleated BlindsThe Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Petach TikvaGroup
2010Art on Paper 2010: The 41st ExhibitionWeatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NCGroup
2010Let´s DanceMusée d´art contemporain du Val-de-Marne MAC, Val, Vitry-sur-SeineGroup
2010Milk Drop Coronet30 Ausstellungen zur Virtuosität des Dinglichen - Camera Austria, GrazGroup
2010Contemporary Works from the Monsen Family CollectionHenry Art Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2010PortugalArte10PortugalArte, LisbonGroup
2010Process AbstractionPaul Kasmin Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010An einem schönen Morgen des Monats Mai…GAK - Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst e.V. Bremen, BremenGroup
2010Julia Stoschek Collection - I want to see how you seeDeichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
2010In a PaperweightTony Wight Gallery (former Bodybuilder & Sportsman Gallery), Chicago, ILGroup
2010The Traveling ShowGaleria Jumex, Mexico CityGroup
2010Haunted: Contemporary Photography, Video, Performance Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,New York City, NYGroup
2010Karl Haendel & Walead Beshty, Sheree Hovsepian, and Barbara KastenMoniquemeloche,Chicago, ILGroup
2010Photogenic - Abstract PhotographyBlanket Gallery, Vancouver, BCGroup
2010Photogenic – Abstract PhotographyBlanket Cologne, CologneGroup
2010Photogenic – Abstract PhotographyNatalia Hug Gallery, CologneGroup
2010De RigueurRichard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010Infinite FoldGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisGroup
2010A very, very long catWallspace Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009Walead Beshty - Production StillsThomas Dane Gallery, LondonSolo
2009Directions - Walead Beshty: Legibility on Color BackgroundsHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DCSolo
2009UMMA Projects: Walead BeshtyUMMA - The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MISolo
2009Walead Beshty: PassagesLaxart, Los Angeles, CASolo
2009PopularWallspace Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2009NoiseGalerie Sfeir-Semler, BeirutGroup
2009Hyperborean MannersRob Tufnell, LondonGroup
2009Proposal (Nacht Und Träume) for StavangerGalleri Opdahl, StavangerGroup
2009Plug n' PlayRedling Fine Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009Radical Autonomy - Le Grand CaféCentre d'art contemporain de Saint-Nazaire, Saint-NazaireGroup
2009October ShowTransmission Gallery, Glasgow, ScotlandGroup
2009Vortexhibition PolyphonicaHenry Art Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2009PRUNE - abstracting realityFoam Fotografiemuseum, AmsterdamGroup
2009PrespressRitter Zamet, LondonGroup
2009Group exhibitionNoma Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2009Summer Group ShowThomas Solomon Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009Our MirageArt:Concept, ParisGroup
2009Phot(o)bjectsLawrimore Project, Seattle, WAGroup
2009Elements of PhotographyMuseum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago, ILGroup
2009FIVEBaibakov Art Projects, MoscowGroup
2009Still Revolution: Suspended in TimeMuseum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, ONGroup
2009The Photographic ObjectThe Photographers' Gallery, LondonGroup
2009Phot(o)bjectsPresentation House Gallery - PHG, North Vancouver, BCGroup
20091999 - 10 Year Anniversary ShowChina Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009To Be DeterminedAndrew Kreps Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009Photography in the AbstractLora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, TXGroup
2009A Twilight ArtHarris Lieberman Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009The Space of the Work and the Place of the ObjectSculptureCenter, New York City, NYGroup
2008Industrial PicturesGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BrusselsSolo
2008Walead BeshtyPlug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, ManitobaSolo
2008Walead BeshtyRedling Fine Art, Los Angeles, CASolo
2008Walead BeshtyChina Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, CASolo
2008Now you see itAspen Art Museum, Aspen, COGroup
2008Objects of ValueMAM - Miami Art Museum, Miami, FLGroup
2008The World Is All That Is The CaseHudson Franklin, New York City, NYGroup
20082008 California BiennialCalifornia Pacific Triennial, Newport BeachGroup
2008Number Two: FragileJulia Stoschek Collection, DusseldorfGroup
2008The Light of The VirgoChina Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2008When a clock is seen from the side it no longer tells the timeJohann König, BerlinGroup
2008No RoomChristopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2008OPEN SKY. Räume jenseits ihrer PraxisKunstverein Medienturm, GrazGroup
2008Word Event - GruppenausstellungKunsthalle Basel, Basel Group
2008Los Angeles ConfidentielCentre d'Art du Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-les-EauxGroup
2008PRUESSPRESSRental Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2008Past-ForwardZabludowicz Collection London, LondonGroup
2008Le RetourNice & Fit Gallery, BerlinGroup
2008Whitney Biennial 2008Whitney Biennial, New York City, NYGroup
2007From a distanceWallspace Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2007Meanwhile, in Baghdad…The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2007I Am EyebeamGallery 400 - University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2007Anything You WantPump House Gallery, LondonGroup
2007Radiant CityCherry and Martin Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
200788:88The Project, New York City, NYGroup
2007Concrete WorksMitchell-Innes & Nash - West Street, New York City, NYGroup
2007Between two deaths (Zwischen zwei toden)ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, KarlsruheGroup
2007The Trans-Aestheticization of Daily LifeUCR Sweeney Art Gallery, Riverside, CAGroup
2007Spectral EvidenceBRIC Rotunda Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2006Walead Beshty — The Maker And The ModelWallspace Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2006Walead BeshtyHammer Museum, Los Angeles, CASolo
2006Looking BackWhite Columns, New York City, NYGroup
2006Dice ThrownBellwether Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
20062006 California BienniaCalifornia Pacific Triennial, Newport BeachGroup
2006Strange DrugsGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BrusselsGroup
2006Bring the war homeElizabeth Dee Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2006Studio CitySprovieri, LondonGroup
2006The Backroom: SfSF Camerawork, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006The backroomNew Langton Arts, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006Studio CityTal Esther gallery, Tel AvivGroup
2005Walead BeshtyChina Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, CASolo
2005The New City. Sub Urbia in Recent PhotographyWhitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NYGroup
2005Bebe Le StrangeD'Amelio Terras, New York City, NYGroup
2005BucolicaWallspace Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2005What once passed for a future or The landscapes of the living deadART2102, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2005Manufactured SelfMoCP - The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, ILGroup
2004Walead Beshty — The Body-Body ProblemWallspace Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2004Special ProjectMoMA PS1, New York City, NYGroup
2004Inaugural ShowSandroni Rey, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2004Buy americanValentin, ParisGroup
2004Self-Evidence - Identity in Contemporary ArtDeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MAGroup