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Barton Lidice Benes (November 16, 1942 – Hackensack, New Jersey – May 30, 2012 – New York) was an artist who lived and worked in New York City. He studied at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York and Beaux-Arts, Avignon, France.
Benes is known for his sculptures of everyday artifacts sent to him from his fans, followers and friends. The relics include everything from lipstick-stained napkins of celebrities to finger nail clippings and human bones. In little boxed “museums,” the artifacts are displayed on tags with short handwritten notes.
Benes’s apartment in New York contained his collection of over $1 million worth of African, Egyptian, and contemporary art, as well as his own. After his death in 2012 the interior of his apartment, including his shadow box museums, was relocated and reconstructed at the North Dakota Museum of Art, under the supervision of his friend and colleague Laurel Reuter, director of the museum. The exhibit opened in late 2013 and is called Barton’s Place.
An excerpt from “Co-Conspirators: Artist and Collector”
By Sue Scott
In a world where an artist’s income can be drastically affected from year to year by the whims of fashion, patronage is an essential, but less obvious, role played by collectors such as Jim and Joe. Artist Barton Benes, whom Joe has known since 1966, concurs. “Jim and Joe buy seriously and regularly. And as my work changes or I move in new directions, they grow with me. They’re willing to take the leap and go to this new place with me. They’ve stuck with me, always. They’re true.” Over the years, Benes has made works using currency and about AIDS. He has created “mini-museums” that deal with topics such as murder or food. And, in the final stages of production is a film on Benes’ art titled “No Secrets,” which Joe is producing.
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