The idea of a very specific kind of forward progress in the history of art gives rise to periodic statements that it is all over. These usually come from artists, critics or other participants who have already had a good deal of fun for many years. They don't say that it is impossible for anyone to make art in the future, they just don't see quite how it can be managed.
I work around the problem by not thinking about it. I am working on a series of abstract sculptural reliefs, in some ways similar to broken fragments of fifth century Greek marble sculpture. There are possibly also moldy books and ripped open 1920's boarding houses, and bugs.
Although this sounds as if I am engaged in an outdated form of expression intended to affirm something, I don't lose sight of all the newer forms of witty cheesiness, the self-referencing irony, the declining standards all over the place. As a result, some of the new pieces are more optimistic on the left side and more pessimistic on the right side.
A presentation of a 'powerful indecision' might describe what I am trying to do; a work of art doesn't need to take a side, even if it turns out to be the side with more people on it. It should embody truth, which is that we don't know what is going to happen.
Neal Beckerman, sculptor and graphic artist, was born in 1949 in Newton Mass. He attended the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, graduating in 1972 with fellowship grants for travel and study. Work from this period was shown at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. After nine months in Italy he returned to Boston, where he had a one man show and participated in various group shows over several years. Over the last thirty-five years he has continued along the lines of his student work, an approach fusing classicism and expressionism.
His work may be found in the Boston Public Library print department, and in many private collections. Mr. Beckerman has bought, sold and restored antiques over the last four decades and has created and executed original furniture designs.
He presently resides in Acton, Maine.