Walead Beshty

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Walead Beshty (born London, UK, 1976) is a Los Angeles-based photographer.

Beshty earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College in 1999, and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University School of Art in 2002. His first solo exhibition debuted in New York in 2004 where he "quickly captured the attention of the international art world with his probing meditations on political and social conditions."[1]

Photography and techniques[edit]

Beshty is known for a series of eleven photograms that he created in 2006. Each photogram was titled Picture Made by My Hand with the Assistance of Light, 2006, and reviews compared the series to the experimental photography of Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy.[2]

Many consider his artwork or photography to be abstract, but he objects, “insisting instead on their material inscription of the structural conditions and possibilities of the medium.”[3] Beshty’s artwork makes the viewer question the possibilities of photography and its relationship with the current world we live in. Beshty currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He is represented by Wallspace Gallery, NYC.

Beshty has developed and discovered an interesting style of photography purely by accident. One day, after returning from traveling abroad, Beshty developed unexposed rolls of film. He expected to see images he had taken during his trip, but was surprised to find that his developed film had strange lines and color on it. The film had been unintentionally exposed when the unexposed film had been sent through an airport X-ray machine. The film shows the basic part of the photographic process after the chemical emulsion is changed after exposure to radiation. Beshty believed these photographs share a relationship with the social and political world. These photos represent the current social and political state of the world after the events of 9/11. Due to the post-9/11 security measures at airports, the photographs are literally altered. He believed these photos could be taken as a portrait of the current security regulations with traces of his travels implanted into the photograph. Since this strange discovery, Beshty has continued to use this method and experiment with different ways of exposing film.


He also creates sculptural forms of his photographs. These sculptures represent his fascination “both the idea of ‘photographic’ indexicality and the strange non-spaces that populate the hyper-connected world that we inhabit.”[4] He is particularly interested in shipping companies, specifically FedEx, and their efficiency and capability of delivering objects around the world. Beshty constructs glass vitrines that are the exact dimensions of a FedEx box, and he then places the glass boxes into a FedEx box and ships it to the exhibition site. The glass sculptures then show the wear and tear of its travels through “space and time.”[5] This cracked surface is supposed to represent a record of the sculpture’s “hidden life” as though the sculpture were an exposure of a photograph.[6] The FedEx boxes the sculpture is delivered in then becomes the base for the artwork. Beshty then gives the sculptures a title which consists of a record of the journey the box took to arrive at the exhibition.



"Legibility on Color Backgrounds," exhibited in Washington D.C. in 2009 and showcased some of his colorful photographs and odd FedEx glass sculptures. He repeats the FedEx glass theme in his gallery exhibition of “Passages,” an exhibition in Los Angeles, California. In this exhibit, the floors were covered with mirrored glass which cracked as people walked across the floor. He also included photographs, which were created with his signature photographic exposure methods, on the walls of this installation.

List of Exhibitions:


"Popular Mechanics", Wallspace, New York, NY
"Production Stills," Thomas Dane, London, England
"Legibility on Color Backgrounds," Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC,/br> "Pulleys, Cogwheels, Mirrors, and Windows," University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
"Passages" LAXART, Los Angeles, CA


"Industrial Pictures", Gallerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium
"Science Concrete", China Art Objects Galleries/Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA


"The Grey Cloth", Das Institut im Glaspavillon/Gallerie Meerrettich, Berlin, Germany
"Meanwhile, in Baghdad", The Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL[7]


"The Maker and the Model", Wallspace, New York, NY
"Hammer Project: Walead Beshty, EMBASSY! (a dismal science waiting room)", Armand Hammer
Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA. Including Film Screening, "24 hour Armageddon: A Cold War Slumber Party", a 24 hour film screening of Disaster Films,


"Parks, Hotels & Palaces", China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, CA


"The Body-Body Problem", Wallspace, New York, NY
"The Phenomenology of Shopping and Dead Malls",--curated by Bob Nickas, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY


Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT


  1. ^ Moret, A. "Tastemakers 2009: Walead Beshty." Los Angeles Times Magazine. 2009. Web. http://www.latimesmagazine.com/2009/07/walead-beshty-tastemaker.html
  2. ^ Velasco, D. "Walead Beshty." Artforum International v45, n4 (2006): 310.
  3. ^ Creamier. “Walead Beshty,” 100 Contemporary Artists.
  4. ^ Creamier. “Walead Beshty,” 100 Contemporary Artists.
  5. ^ Creamier. “Walead Beshty,” 100 Contemporary Artists.
  6. ^ Creamier. “Walead Beshty,” 100 Contemporary Artists.
  7. ^ "Meanwhile, in Baghdad..." at the Renaissance Society

External links[edit]