The Moon

Jarrod Beck

General Statement

My work creates a visceral bridge between our physical and perceptual experiences of natural phenomena. I use materials on vast scales to overwhelm peripheral vision and to increase potential points of contact for the viewer. I make monolithic sculpture and organize processions: installations that are built and moved by large groups of people. These works decompress a geological history that we see played out before us. Scorched wood, paper fading in the sun, and the dust of oxidizing steel are captured in the moment they change state, marking the frisson between human and landscape.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel. 35' x 65' x 30'. Photo by Etienne Frossard.

The Moon began as a a text written in the summer of 2014 and published as a 120-page book with the exhibition at Smack Mellon. Themes include environmental devastation, the AIDS epidemic, and queer collectivist anarchism. During the exhibition, The Moon lived as a massive sculpture, the site for readings from the original text, and the context for a series of dance performances in collaboration with choreographers Abigail Levine and Danny Dolan. Together, the sculpture, text, and performances form a complete constellation.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel. 35' x 65' x 30'.

These images include Etienne Frossard's installation photos and the artist's images of Danny Dolan's performance New Moon, a three-hour choreography created with the artist that culminated with Danny and dancers Aaron Mattocks and Patrick Andrews peeling the moon apart.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel. 35' x 65' x 30'.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel. 35' x 65' x 30'.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel.

The Moon, 2017, Pigmented paper pulp, bronze, steel. 35' x 65' x 30'.


The Moon




Text excerpt from The Moon


A moon pulling its cloak on
one shoulder at a time
a cape of mink
how cold the moon
to need this fur shoulder, shoulder
how cold the neck of the moon
depths of space berthing
on this neck.
Pulling on a cape
and shrugging it off
this endless conceal, reveal
that makes us crazy,
moon tans
moon bugs
moon trails
moon wood
the moon
and the day or the night not night
that we discovered that we didn’t really know much about the moon.
The night not night that we touched the moon and
started unpeeling, and we
found that we couldn’t stop.


Unpeeling without consequence,
we unpeeled and ripped
We ripped and ruined, crashed into,
wrapped each other in.
Unrolled each other out of.
Hungrily, ferociously.
We slathered, bled, bred, drooled.
Peeling and showing
and laying in a rumpled heap.
Slicing, wedges showing them.
And some of us starting to plan.
How we could get rid of these spent layers.
How we prayed for someone to take them away
so that we would have more room
to peel more layers
So that we would never again need to
pause and consider where to store
and what to throw away.
Peel Peel Peel
we thought
This will take us the rest of our lives.


Its cold upon the moon,
“Did you get to go,
before they pulled it down?”
To earth, we said,
laughing.


We found wet layers,
and dry
rusting layers
and layers that were pockets
middens
collected by beings that had died long ago
Colorful pockets
Reds, and purple-like colors the likes of which
we had never seen before
some of us would work together
to peel the biggest layer possible at
a time, once
we dislodged a layer so wide
it took us halfway around the moon
The sound this made
A vibration really


the sound of a wave
inside the wave
crashing
amplified
and drawn out
like you could make a space in it, get inside it
vibrate within it. A sound thats bigger than you.
One of us took the most pleasure in extricating the smallest shed possible
a fiber that sang clearly,
that made a sound you could step outside of
a song, not a sound
of love and not-love. Essence.
We would watch him,
usually from afar
and the color that would shine
back onto his face
how beautiful he looked
how slowly he worked
how erect
supple
quivering, his muscles.
Pulling these slowing singing threads
How he would use one hand to pull them through another hand
And the color that would grow there.
Reflecting off of his perspiration.
We talked sometimes
about him
About what he would find.
We stopped and stared, longer
than we had ever stopped since arriving on our moon.
The moment he took two threads an twisted them together
It was a sound that was difficult to hear
Our eardrums had not evolved to
accept this kind of sound
The color wasn’t a color
that we knew how to describe
It was horrible
The way this light shone
Shone through his body
Revealing cells, blood flowing,
small lesions.
A tumor, the underside of
lumps similar to the lumps pushing through our skin
horrible this knowledge, this honesty
Horrible the way he watched us watching him
Horrible his mouth opening
His precise fingers drawing close
to this maw
Horrible the way his thumbs twisted the fibers as they neared his lips
The way his tongue lapped at the tip
of this twisted sound
the way the air sucked
through his teeth
sound of moisture on gums
The sound of us sucking air though
our teeth, over our gums.
The horrible light in his throat now.
His mouth fighting to close
The screaming
his cells finding their horrible voice
The paralysis we felt
In an instant
After all of this continuous work
without stopping
This continuous desire
The light we couldn’t see
The desire for this body
breaking, this lone man
who was suddenly all color
all light
The sound of a body breaking
Elementally
and what this must have looked like, from earth.



Jarrod Beck has created installations for Smack Mellon, Socrates Sculpture Park, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Wave Hill Garden, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Siena Art Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, Stony Brook University and Provincetown Art Association and Museum. His play Manhattan Man, His Sleeping Wife was performed at the Instituto Cervantes amidst his installation Duende in 2011. Beck occupied the Cape Cod National Seashore in 2012 with the first in a series of processions and installations called Cinerum. Balance was hosted by the US Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela with a monograph about the project was published in October 2016. An upcoming procession, called Degree, will be hosted by Rice University this fall. The Anti-Defamation League commissioned Broken Open in Omaha, Nebraska and Beck won the Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award in 2014 for Uplift. His drawings are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Beck's collaborations include projects with DJ Mark Louque, director Bill Oliver, choreographer Will Rawls, performance artist John Kelly's Love of a Poet, playwright Paul Young and an upcoming project with choreographer Jon Kinzel. Beck has been an artist-in-residence at Dieu Donné Papermill, UrbanGlass, Fine Arts Work Center, Rauschenberg Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Vermont Studio Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Siena Art Institute, Sculpture Space, Lower East Side Print Shop and Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop.  His work has been published and reviewed in the New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, the Village Voice and Austin Chronicle among others. He has self-published several texts related to his work including a 120 page limited edition book called The Moon. Beck earned Bachelor and Masters degrees in Architecture from Tulane University, New Orleans, LA and a Master of Fine Art from the University of Texas in Austin.