Barton Lidice Benes

Czech-American , 1941 -

A third generation Czech-American, Barton Lidice Benes was born in 1941. He grew up with his grandparents in Queens, New York. When he was still a teenager, he made the U.S. Olympic speed-skating team, while smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

During the time when pop and conceptual art began to catch on, Benes focused less on painting and more on radical performance art. He traveled to the Ivory Coast of West Africa in 1971 to make a mural.

Benes’ first exhibition was held in a cow barn in Millstone, New Jersey, which sold art to people from Princeton, New Jersey. By 1965, he had his first significant exhibition of paintings and watercolors at the Traverse Gallery in Scotland. His first solo exhibition took place in New York at the Allen Stone Gallery in 1974.

In 1997 Benes collaborated with printer Bill Lagattuta at the Tamarind Institute in New Mexico to create a three-color lithograph titled, "Reliquarium". The sixteen collaged bits in this print include a piece of Elizabeth Taylor's shoe and a crumb from the wedding cake of the Prince of Wales.

Currently, Benes is a tireless fighter against AIDS, which is reflected in his body of work entitled, “Lethal Weapons”.


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