Whitney Biennial 2014

Solo en Inglès

Hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2014 Biennial. The guide also features commentary from Biennial curators Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner.

312—Kevin Beasley


KEVIN BEASLEY: My name is Kevin Beasley.


For the Biennial, I have a pair of sculptures that will exist on the floor that are comprised of a pair of size 18 Jordans and sleeve inserts from an old coat that I had from an art handling company. And polyurethane foam and other miscellaneous materials from the studio. 


NARRATOR: There is something odd and evocative about the sculptures’ placement on the floor. 


KEVIN BEASLEY: It's funny, because the selection for the shoes came from, for me, this time I was walking to the train from my apartment and I saw a pair of Air Force Ones, this pair of Nike shoes that were sitting on these grates. I guess they were like heat grates that go down to the subway.

They were just odd to me, because they didn't feel like they were abandoned, but they felt like it was like a temporary thing, that someone was heating them up, or doing something with them, but they didn't feel alone which was a strange experience to me. Maybe that was just my interpretation.

But I'd always been thinking about shoes, and I'm constantly working with material that relates to the body, or the extremities, like hats, and gloves, and jeans and socks and shoes. I've been also using polyurethane foam as a basis in my work, primarily because of its relationship to the body, like it's foam, it’s used for padding and cushioning. It's a common material, but it's not that easily recognizable.

All these materials, for me, have some relationship, really some type of closeness to the body.


Kevin Beasley, _Untitled (Jumped Man)_, 2014 (detail). Polyurethane foam, resin, soil, coat sleeve liners, and pair of Nike Jordan size 18 shoes, 2 pieces: 24 x 16 x 11 in. (61 x 40.6 x 27.9 cm) each. Collection of the artist