(2007), from his “Neon” collection, features concentric circles of blue-lit letters with “i feel your love” centered in orange-red cursive. The installation feels like a sensory-rich dartboard, with the pronouns “you”
“I” left purposefully undefined. In form and concept, Kind Stranger
(2007) references Bruce Nauman
’s The True Artist Helps The World By Revealing Mystic Truths (1967)
, offering a coded message about the art establishment.
Taken as a whole, Beldner’s works function as a profound critique, if complicated, about the economic structure of the contemporary art world. He reveals the extent to which celebrity imagery and branded content have permeated our visual lexicon—especially at digital frequencies. Instead of making a one-note criticism on capitalism or the commodification of visual culture, Beldner pivots on his multiple vantage points of visual artist, teacher, and art appraiser to put forth a rigorous, well-rounded investigation of the art establishment from within.
“Appropriately” is on view at Micaela Contemporary Projects, San Francisco, Feb. 1–Mar. 15, 2015.