Evertt Beidler performs his sculptures. His “Moves Manager” is a custom walking machine. Wearing a suit and tie, Beidler is strapped into the machine, and as it rolls forward, it moves his arms and legs in a manner that imitates walking. In a video document of the performance, the straight-faced Beidler presents a melancholy picture of the company man living the regimented life, making all the right moves and getting (almost) nowhere.
In “The Driven Driver,” Beidler, suspended in a harness above a trailer, runs on a treadmill as a truck tows the trailer down a country road. Beidler’s works exist as the objects themselves, as performances, and as short videos that beautifully document those performances.
It wasn’t always this way. Beidler had reached a point in his practice where he emphasized technical skills, making work that, “removed the artist’s hand so the viewer couldn’t tell how it was made,” says Beidler. The object, with nary a mark of its maker’s hand, “just sat there.” According to Beidler, the process became unenjoyable and he soon realized he wouldn’t have a career in art if he continued to do things this way.
At the same time, he read Robin Collingwood’s Principles of Art, and was inspired by the notion that art had to do with emotion. Previously, he’d focused on form and technique. This new way of thinking became a point of re-entry for Beidler. Art was fun again. “I still obsess over the way it is made, but function had to come before image. That was very liberating for me.”
Beidler will use the fellowship opportunity to build infrastructure. “The fellowship will permanently impact my work, allowing me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do.”