Lakewood, CO

Phil Bender

The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar

Phil Bender might best be described as a pure assemblagist, his art being derived wholly from collecting and ordering. The term assemblage typically denotes work constructed from found objects that have been manipulated or recombined, but Bender’s approach to assemblage blurs into a Duchampian presentation of readymades. The Denver-based artist arranges commonplace objects such as toolboxes, potholders, and matchbooks into rows or grids of like things on walls, floors, and shelves. His recent exhibition “Last Place” was Bender’s largest solo show of a nearly three-decade career, featuring forty-one assemblages made between 2004 and 2008 that together—by the compulsive artist’s own count—incorporate 1,109 component objects.

As a student in the 1970s, Bender tinkered with variations on Pop art and began to incorporate found objects into his paintings and sculptures, eventually realizing that

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