Kevin Beasley was born in 1985 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He lives and works in Queens, New York. Since earning his BFA from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit in 2007, and his MFA from Yale University in 2012, Beasley has created sculptures and installations made from found materials, including clothing, sports equipment, personal artifacts, and cultural ephemera. Using polyurethane foam and resin to give these objects their own solidity and form, Beasley molds them into wall assemblages and standalone sculptures. T-shirts, colorful house dresses, and durags take their own haunting shape, referencing the bodies that may have once inhabited them. These items weave together Beasley’s own memories and experiences, along with historical and cultural references, in order to examine the role of power and race in American society. Beasley also incorporates microphones, audio processors, and mixers into his works, activating the sculptures through live performances. Interested in the tactile dimension of sound, Beasley connects sound production and the movement of the physical body through his performances and sound installations.
In a new film from our “New York Close Up” digital series, Kevin Beasley juxtaposes sound, silence, and sculpture to examine the legacy of cotton in the American South.
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“As materially-oriented as I am, it’s all because there is a context for those materials.”