For Immediate Release: March 2, 2019
By Victoria Behm
Artsy Online Exclusive Exhibitions
March 7 - May 5, 2019
440 Gallery is proud to present selected work from the Estate of Vicki Behm. Museum Diaries features original ink and collaged drawings on paper inspired by the artist’s museum visits. Behm’s quirky line drawings immortalize the beauty and sheer joy of extraordinarily ordinary things. Her work is noted for a documentarian’s attention to detail, but with a flattened perspective and a keen wit. The work is often augmented with relevant collaged elements and several drawings from “Museum Diaries” include the iconic- now discontinued- Metropolitan Museum admission buttons. All of these pieces incorporate her distinctive hand lettering, which identifies the work from the museum label, but also conveys Behm’s humorous notation. In the drawing of a “Helmet from Iran,1480” she adds her own translation of the Arabic calligraphy on the helmet “if lost, return to Sultan Ya’qub”
In the long arc of her career, Vicki Behm shifted easily between the restrained elegance of architectural commissions to drawings with an intimate, wide-eyed look at a life lived in real time. Her hand-drawn journals— over a hundred still extant— are treasure troves of personal documentation. In much of her artwork, Behm highlights a long love affair with Mexico and its deep folk traditions. Handmade paper, labels of elixirs and ephemera from Oaxaca are often collaged into her work. Behm’s dramatic installation, 1000 Drawings of NYC, consisting of a thousand 5” x 5” unique ink and collaged drawings, was last exhibited in 2016 at 440 Gallery.
Vicki Behm’s work has been exhibited in Chicago and New York and is in individual and corporate collections. Two of her hand-drawn books were published online by Time Inc. Victoria Behm grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She earned Bachelor and Master degrees in journalism and design from the University of Missouri-Columbia and studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Until her death in 2018, Behm split her time between New York City and Oaxaca Mexico, working daily in her studio and on-site.