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Clarke Bedford: Sculptor Undefined

There's a good chance that just driving around Hyattsville you've seen some of this local artist's work.

If you’ve ever driven down Nicholson Street in Hyattsville, then you’ve probably noticed Clarke Bedford’s house.

Or at least his cars.

That’s because almost every square inch of the vehicles are decorated with pieces of metal that Bedford has salvaged or bought and re-used as forms of art.

He’s adorned his three cars with old metal fans, statues and various fenders and headlights. On the white fence surrounding his house hang more fans and metal tubes that have been bent and shaped.

And step inside his home and it’s like being taken back in time. Seemingly old photographs that Bedford has composed himself hang on the walls. Carved marble Pez dispensers, the size of a small arm, stand on shelves.

There’s antique furniture, more fans, paintings and wooden sculptures. The room acts as an installation collage piece in itself, which Bedford said was once displayed at a local art gallery.

Bedford also noted that he enjoys performing. One of his acts is to appear as Coleslaw Baklava, an artist who received a MacArthur Genius Award at age eight and who specializes in food “identity art, ” and “appropriations of carefully arranged stacks of plastic throw-a-ways, painted road directional signs and colossal piles of rust, dust and structures gone bust,” according to his website.

If you think that sounds ridiculous, it’s supposed to, because it’s Bedford’s satire of modern art.

When he’s not making things at his home or performing a lecture, he works as a conservator at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.

Watch the video above to see some of Bedford’s work and his description of why it’s important to recognize all varieties of artists. If you’d like more information about Bedford head to his website.

Jim Groves October 07, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Just saw this article. I drive up Nicholsen all the time and love the "outside art". Wonder what the neighbors think?

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