New York

Robert Beck

I.C Editions, Inc. / Susan Inglett

Is it evidence? Is it proof? Read between the lines. In a nation addicted to armchair investigation, it won’t be long before jury duty is something served at home in front of the TV, the verdict reached by pressing either the guilty or not guilty button on the remote control. Reflecting our increasing need to judge for ourselves, Robert Beck’s “true crime series” is part homage to the photo insert found in mass-market, “fact-based” paperbacks and part addition to a growing body of art based on documenting all the grisly details—what might be called “evidentiary art.”

Beck’s series is made up of four major pieces: November Spawned a Monster, 1993; The Tail Gunner’s Vulgar Revenge, 1994; The Cornfield, 1994; and a set of brown “evidence” bags and boxes sealed with tape that reads “WARNING SEALED EVIDENCE: DO NOT TAMPER,” containing pillow, lightbulb, boots, and boy’s pajama top, with a Polaroid

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 receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 1995 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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