Bill Beckley

Installation

April–May 1971 112 Greene Street/Workshop
Installation view of "Bill Beckley: Installation," 1971
Installation view of "Bill Beckley: Installation," 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Middle C, swinging, cardinal", 1970
Bill Beckley, "Middle C, swinging, cardinal", 1970
Bill Beckley, "Middle C, swinging, cardinal", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Middle C, swinging, cardinal", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Treble C, swinging", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Treble C, swinging", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
"Song sung to raven and to viewer" from Bill Beckley's "Installation"
"Song sung to raven and to viewer" from Bill Beckley's "Installation"
Bill Beckley, "Song sung to raven and to viewer", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Song sung to raven and to viewer", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971

Exhibition Description

Beckley created a series of installations, including “Middle C, swinging, cardinal”; “Quail, swinging”; Treble C, swinging”; “Song sung to raven and to viewer”; “Rooster, lying” and “Raven recitations, 1st series: ‘dark’.”

In”Middle C, swinging, cardinal,” Bill Beckley set up a swing in such a way that the viewer could hear middle C on the backswing and see a bird on the forward swing. Three boards, each 12×24″, were used for the audio generator and speaker, the swing, and the perch for the bird. The bird was permitted to fly freely in the space.

“Quail, swinging” is illustrated by the artist’s sketch.

“Treble C, swinging” involved a swing hung close to the floor with a speaker bolted to its underside. The speaker was hooked up to an audio generator which produced a single low-pitched hum-treble C.

“Song sung to raven and to viewer” had a raven perched near the ceiling. A tape recorder and speaker were placed on the floor and the word “in” was sung softly at the pitch of the treble C, then loudly at the pitch of soprano C.

“Rooster, lying” consisted of three platforms (each 3×12′): the first as support for a bed, the second, directly over the bed, as support for the rooster, and the third, directly over the second, as containment for the rooster, preventing it from flying out of the chicken wire stretched between the second and third platforms. The rooster was visible to the viewer who was standing or walking in the space, but it could not be seen when the viewer lay in the bed.

Lastly, in “Raven recitations, 1st series: ‘dark’,” a raven was trained to say the word “dark” and was photographed while saying it.

Installation view of "Bill Beckley: Installation," 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Middle C, swinging, cardinal", 1970
Bill Beckley, "Middle C, swinging, cardinal", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Treble C, swinging", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
"Song sung to raven and to viewer" from Bill Beckley's "Installation"
Bill Beckley, "Song sung to raven and to viewer", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
Installation view of "Bill Beckley: Installation," 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Raven recitations, 1st series: 'dark", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Middle C, swinging, cardinal", 1970
Bill Beckley, "Middle C, swinging, cardinal", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Treble C, swinging", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971
"Song sung to raven and to viewer" from Bill Beckley's "Installation"
Bill Beckley, "Song sung to raven and to viewer", 1971
Bill Beckley, "Rooster, lying", 1971