Beck and Al Hansen

TAKE A LISTEN TO THIS. “Rubbish piles, fresh and plain. Empty boxes in a pawn shop brain. License plates stowaway. Standing in line like a readymade.” Get it? It’s sort of like a mess aesthetic, right? Or maybe a cool poetry thing. But it’s not only poetry, because it comes with tunes and other assorted noises bursting out of the bulky bag of tricks belonging to the world’s most famous tiny Viking, Beck. Beck Hansen that is, grandson of another artistic rummager, the late Al Hansen. Frequently associated with Fluxus and author of the now-classic A Primer of Happenings and Time/Space Art (1965), the elder Hansen’s influence on Beck seems obvious. Both play with the notions of chance, coincidence, and the seductions of uncertainty. Both believe that mistakes take you where you ought to be. And both are subjects of “BECK AND AL HANSEN: PLAYING WITH MATCHES,” an exhibition organized for the

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 1998 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.