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ART; Beck's First Sampling; The pop star learned about collage from his larger-than life grandfather, Al Hansen. A Santa Monica show connects their careers.
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Art exhibits; Visual artists
Author: McKenna, Kristine
Date: May 3, 1998
Start Page: 5
Section: Calendar; Calendar Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Their artworks are the subject of "Playing With Matches" one of two exhibitions opening Saturday to launch the Santa Monica Museum of Art at its new location in Bergamot Station, and Beck and Al Hansen's sensibilities have a good deal in common. "Al was the first person who showed Beck how to make a rhyme and what that can lead to--it can lead to lyrics, visual poetry, a performative act," says Canadian curator Wayne Baerwaldt, who organized the show.

"Beck comes out of a tradition of thinking across media, and he got that from his mother and grandfather," says art historian Kristine Stiles, whose book on performance art, "Uncorrupted Joy," slated for publication this year by the UC Press, includes a chapter on Hansen. "As to why Beck's had a bigger career than Al, I think it's because he had a stable family--and that is the great triumph of Beck's mother, Bibbe Hansen. {Artist} Carolee Schneemann says she remembers going to events Al was involved in, and there would be Bibbe, this tiny girl asleep on a pile of coats. Bibbe clearly gave Beck a sense of security that's helped him prosper."

"I take no credit for Beck's creativity--he came into the world with it, and I recognized early on that he was gifted," she adds of her son, whose collages were the subject of an exhibition last year at Plug In, a gallery in Winnipeg, Canada. "But I did create a similar environment for him. Beck's father is a musician, I worked in film, photography and in bands, and when Beck was a child Al lived with us. He used to sit in the backyard making art, and because he was involved in L.A.'s punk scene, there were always people at the house playing guitars. Al and Beck have very similar sensibilities, and the reason Beck's reached a broader audience than Al did is because they're based in different fields. Fine art rarely gets the kind of audience pop music gets."

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