Mark Beasley is an artist, writer and curator, active since graduating from the Royal College of Art (London) in 2000. Initially he started work with Grizedale as part of Flatpack001 (with amongst others Steve Beasley, architect and Frieze contributor), an aspirational collective from Birmingham. They came to visit on a research trip in 2002 and became involved with the Grizedale programme that was to become Roadshow.
Mark wrote the now (in the art world) legendary text, for the Roadshow catalogue, The Battle of Blaenau Ffestiniog in which he retells the semi-true/mythical story of how the education tent got burnt down by local skallies.
In 2004 he joined forces with Sam Walhs and John Russell (previously of the Bank Collective) in a work commissioned for Romantic Detachment at PS1/MoMA. Their proposal was to set up a studio producing paintings in response to the movies of maverick LA filmmaker Damon Packard (a giant of the West Coast alternative scene who exists solely on a diet of Coke and sweets). In turn, Packard himself was invited to come and film their metaphysical process of discovery and produce a work called The Thinking. The idea was that all this was visible to the passing PS1 public. As it was the group locked themselves in the studio room off the main gallery for the whole show, only appearing at about 6.30 in the evening after a lengthy session of self-analysis and us banging on the door to tell them it was time to close up. The relationship between the four got increasingly fractious, erupting sporadically with Mark running through the corridors in a hospital gown screaming, chased by the ever rolling camera of Packard. This in turn caused PS1 to get 'really pissed' with Grizedale and close down the show before it opened. Meanwhile, the material produced by Beasley, Walhs and Russell ironically mined the mixed up slash and slosh neo-Romantic anxiety (Tracey Emin territory). Packard’s incomprehension and critique explored in his film gives perhaps the best insight into the whole Romantic Detachment programme- multiple misunderstanding and romanticisation of other cultures, and why everyone else has such a hard time understanding what the hell they are trying to do.
After being project director for Creative Time in New York he is now working freelance and produced a project for the GSK Contemporary Season at the Royal Academy of Arts in Autumn / Winter 08/09. The cross over of influences and approaches between Flatpack and Grizedale has proved to have an impact on the development of both organisations, which the body of shared artists and their consequent exchange continues to inform (is that ok, Mark?).
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