ARTIST TALK with Bedri Baykam moderated by Peter Frank!

You are cordially invited to a rare ARTIST TALK with Bedri Baykam moderated by noted art critic Peter Frank!

Please join us and meet he artist behind "VISUAL ADVENTURES (Dimensions + Time)"!!

WHEN: Sunday, January 19th from 4pm – 6pm.
*Small reception to follow*

Bedri Baykam’s solo exhibition in Los Angeles at the Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts, opened its doors on the 7th of December 2019, with a 5-hour long reception that hosted hundreds of guests.

Baykam’s 4D works - highly developed lenticulars holding 20 to 25 layers of depth, that had been shown previously in several other museums such as the Berlin Akademie der Künste, Barcelona Picasso Museum, Paris Pinacotheque and Roland Garros Museums, as well as several art fairs and galleries worldwide - were seen for the first time by Los Angeles based art lovers, who were very impressed by discovering Baykam’s fresh and new world of images.

Alongside the 4Ds, Baykam’s exhibit is comprised of his recent canvas works, as well as his well-known “EmptyFrame” inscribed with his famous 1987 logo “This Has Been Done Before”.

The “Art History Map” that Baykam completed in 2019 was also presented to the LA art audience at the Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts exhibit with its different edition forms in size and surface (canvas and laminated paper). Hand prepared as an artwork in six months and published as an edition.

Baykam’s Art History Map and exhibit were featured on the December 2019 cover of the Art Walk Gallery Guide published by the Los Angeles Times.

In an event at UCLA, prepared jointly with IAA/USA, Baykam held a speech about his Art History Map, the official declaration of “World Art Day” only a month ago in Paris at the General Conference of UNESCO. 

This speech followed Baykam’s proposal, as World President of IAA, to the UNESCO Executive Board in 2018.

The Turkish General Consul of LA, Mr. Can Oğuz, as well as his guest, the Azerbaijan General Consul Nasimi Aghayev were also present the UCLA event.

Baykam’s recently published book in English “Guerilla Carries No Umbrella” was first launched in Los Angeles. The publication of 460 pages comprises two sections, on art and politics.

It contains several articles by Baykam about the rights of non-western Artists, as well as his struggles for a world with a better democracy, human rights and freedom of speech record, among many others.

The book is about to be launched in Turkey on January 13, 2020.
Well-known LA -based art critic Peter Frank has written an extensive article about Baykam, which newly defines his works as “Pop-Expressionist”.

Given the extraordinary response to and continually growing interest in Bedri Baykam’s exhibit, Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts has extended the exhibit “Visual Adventures” until February 1st.
Exhibition Dates: December 7th, 2019 – February 1st , 2020.

Artist Talk moderated by Peter Frank - small reception to follow:
WHEN: Sunday, January 19th from 4pm – 6pm.

WHERE: GDCA Gallery - 727 S Spring Street / LA, CA 90014
(between 7th & 8th Streets)

710 & 712 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (between 7th & 8th Streets).

817 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (between 8th & 9th Streets). 

$10.00 Flat Rate - CASH ONLY - Attendant on Premises - Closes at 03:00 am

We look forward to seeing you Sunday!


By Peter Frank

Originality is a chimera. Everything has a precedent, not to mention a source. As Bedri Baykam admits — no, declares — in work after work of his, “this has been done before.” It is an ironic proclamation, however: “This” has never been done quite this way before, because the artist’s interventions, deliberate and accidental, have modified and ultimately individuated the work.

The notion of originality, especially as a measure of artistic quality or importance, is the impetus for one of Baykam’s many aesthetic, social, and political crusades. He revels in these arguments, taking risks with his art, his reputation, even his life to foment creative thought and resistance to intellectual and societal tyranny. His vast appetite for the world, as it manifests in art and as it manifests in life, allows him to do nothing else: he is a committed provocateur on the international stage.

Such expansive focus belies Baykam’s position in the world. A Turk, he tirelessly propounds the need for Turkey to be a site of experiment and enlightenment. This was the clarion of Mustafa Kemal, founder of the modern Turkish state, and Baykam considers himself a Kemalist. Indeed, his father was a longtime liberal member of Parliament, and the artist son himself stood for president (in party primaries) as recently as 2003. Since then, Baykam has watched as democracy has waned and religious fundamentalism has all but overwhelmed his country. He was himself left for dead in a 2011 attack. Damaged and discouraged, yet he persists.

Baykam’s voice in the art world has been more effective, at least in broadening the perspective of a realm freighted with cultural prejudice. He took his undergraduate degree at the Sorbonne and his graduate degree at the California College of Arts & Crafts, so his exposure to Western art, especially contemporary art and its minutiae, has been thorough. Baykam’s art evinces this, adopting and reflecting modes of thought and style prevalent in post-modern Europe and America — and attenuating these modes so that they address contemporary practices and conditions elsewhere in the world.

For years, Baykam has railed against the West’s condescending, often dismissive regard for art produced elsewhere. Non-western manifestations of styles and movements (supposedly) formulated in the West, he avers, are not epigonal imitations or mere exoticizations, but re-inventions of what can be regarded as globalized languages. Surrealism is as subversive in Mexico as it is in France. Abstract expressionism is as abstract and as expressionist in Tokyo as it is in New York. Op art is a South American as well as European phenomenon. Minimalism takes on a whole new resonance in India. Conceptual art was political as well as artistic practice in Soviet-era eastern Europe. And in places as diverse as Ghana, Malaysia, Cuba, and Iran, Pop Art and neo-expressionism conflate into a whole new creature. This is the kind of creature Bedri Baykam is: A Pop expressionist.

Baykam’s brand of Pop expressionism is suffused with the visual and the spiritual energies of graffiti and street art. Its debt to a vast array of modern and post-modern movements, from Surrealism to Fluxus to performance art, Is likewise evident. Baykam does not try to hide or digest these diverse influences, but simply employs and coordinates them according to the ideas and images being presented, in whatever piece or series of pieces is at hand. Indeed, the stylistic references become part of the subject of each work. In this regard, Baykam, ever the provocateur, spectacularizes recent art history through a kind of appropriation once-removed, an appropriation more strategic than ironic, admiring and critical in the same breath.

The large lenticular pictures comprising the bulk of Baykam’s first solo show in Los Angeles are a case in point. The images themselves are pastiches, some elements found, others staged, some echoing the vacuity of contemporary advertising, some satirizing contemporary culture and art history, some waxing nostalgic about cinematic fantasies (largely from Baykam’s youth). He conflates European and American cultural markers, as someone from hippie-era Istanbul would be wont to do — quite aware that this, too, is a view through the “wrong” end of the telescope, feeding on Hollywood clichés even as Hollywood, and the art world, fed (and still feed) on Orientalist ones.

Even as the lenticular pieces (all dating from around 2008) conjure Pop art— a rather Francophone Pop, tinged with wit, romance, intimacy, and a sense of marvel — the more recent painted and collaged works here give clear evidence of Baykam’s responsivity to latter-day painterly modalities, namely neo-expressionism and street art. But street art itself is a neo-Pop phenomenon, and neo-expressionism is nothing if not a reclamation of a notion of painting as theatrical gesture, the dramatization of the ongoing struggle between the artist’s hand and the autonomous image.

And that is what keeps Bedri Baykam in the game, constantly switching gears and tactics and constantly tweaking conventional notions of artistic dialogue, artistic relationships, artistic distinction, and the role of art in life. Even as he teases us like some jester in the court of Art he takes on official positions — World President of the UNESCO-affiliated International Art Association, for instance — with great and solemn purpose. Baykam is at once inside and outside the establishment, exactly where an artist whose vision extends beyond art should be. He takes himself very seriously and not at all seriously, as the empty frame hanging in the middle of this show, stamped with that declaration “this has been done before,” attests.

Testimony, too, to Baykam’s simultaneous embrace of and challenge to art’s sacrosanctity is his new “Art History Map,” a flow chart tracing intertwined art and human history from the caves to the cellphone. This, too, has been done before, by the likes of Museum of Modern Art Founding Director Alfred Barr and Fluxus mastermind George Maciunas, among others. But not like this. Indulging his subjectivity, championing artists and events that may be all but unknown to most of us, Baykam “re-sets” the story of humankind a little bit more to his liking, bringing the West more in line with the East and loosening the dialectical rigidity of the colonial mindset. This map subverts the perception of cultural dominance — of anyone by anyone — by allowing in the vagaries of art and life alike, as Baykam sees them.

“Art is what makes life more interesting than art,” said Fluxus artist Robert Fillliou. Bedri Baykam keeps it all interesting by making art out of life, and vice versa

Los Angeles

December 2019


Bedri Baykam"VISUAL ADVENTURES (Dimensions + Time)"

Exhibition Dates: December 7th, 2019 - February 1st, 2020

Art Walk: Thursday January 9th from 6pm - 10pm

VIP Reception in the presence of the Artist : Saturday, January 18th, from 5pm - 10pm.

Artist Talk moderated by art critic Peter Frank with small  Reception to follow : Sunday, January 19th from 3pm - 5pm. 

"VISUAL ADVENTURES"  features the artwork of internationally renowned, Turkish multidisciplinary artist Bedri Baykam. 

A first generation Neo-Expressionist, Baykam, a leading figure in political art and activism, who has long been fighting for non-western artists' rights, launches his first Los Angeles solo show at Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts.

Central to the exhibit are his lenticular works, labeled 4Ds (three D + time factor), alongside recent canvasses, as well as one of his groundbreaking "EmptyFrames", launched in 2013 as an answer to several generations of "ready-made" artists. 

“Visual Adventures” is Baykam's 141st international solo exhibition.

Marking its US debut, Baykam reveals his "Art History Map" at GDCA, (launched in Turkey this April). Baykam's map achieves an extraordinary feat, comprising all art movements and artists from Renaissance until today.

Baykam is World President of the International Art Associations/IAA (Official Partner of UNESCO), and instigator of "World Art Day" (April 15). After Baykam's proposal, World Art Day has now become one of the "International Days" marked officially by UNESCO.