NADA NY 2018 March 8 – 11
Beau Dick, Cole Speck, and Alan Hunt
Fazakas Gallery’s booth will present hand-carved masks by Beau Dick, Cole Speck, and Alan Hunt. These artists are connected by their shared Kwakwaka’wakw culture and their personal relationship to one another. Speck and Hunt mentored closely under Dick and assisted him in his work, including his pieces for Documenta 14.
These works are connected thematically by their association with the Undersea Kingdom, an important narrative in Kwakwaka’wakw ceremony. This theme is particularly pertinent due to its recent exposure at Documenta, where Dick’s entire series of Undersea masks was put on display to great critical acclaim.
Despite being informed by tradition and possessing ceremonial functions, the works created by these artists are undoubtedly contemporary. What differentiates them is their fluency in both contemporary and traditional visual languages. Dick had an uncanny ability to innovate. His practice mirrored that of many contemporary artists who play with repetition: he created dozens of masks over his career, but found a way to reinvent each one despite the immutable subject matter.
Displaying the apprentices’ masks next to their mentor’s demonstrates how knowledge disseminates through the cult
ure of art-making and the ways in which techniques unique to individual artists can be translated and shared. Mentor-mentee relationships are prolific among the indigenous cultures of the Northwest Coast and play a vital role in the circulation of tradition.
Beau Dick had one of the most critically acclaimed hybrid styles of carving within the Northwest Coast and contemporary art lexicons. His sudden passing shocked the art world at large, and our booth aims to offer a visual representation of how his unique qualities have been transmuted by Speck and Hunt, resulting in a wonderful process of preservation.
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