Representing the artist’s first U.S. museum solo exhibition in 15 years, "Peter Beard: Last Word From Paradise" presents more than 50 multi-layered collages, drawings, photographs, and diaries from the 1960s to the present, some on public view for the first time. The show includes the artist’s iconic work from Africa that chronicles the change in the landscape from a time richly populated by elephants, rhinos, and crocodiles, to what remains today. Also on view will be never-before exhibited Montauk portraits of his home, family, and friends including Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, Jacqueline Onassis, and Lee Radziwill.
Divided into two sections installed in separate galleries, the exhibition is organized around the two outposts that Peter Beard calls home – Africa and the East End of Long Island.
“We wanted to present Peter Beard’s body of work through a different lens, by exploring the artist’s visions of Kenya and Montauk as encampments/refuges where his art and life converge,” stated Christina Mossaides Strassfield, Museum Director and Chief Curator of Guild Hall Museum, in the exhibition announcement.
The richly textured and multi-layered works in the exhibition will reveal Beard's life-long passion as an adventurer, his concern about the environment, and his chronicles of the devastation of the animal population in East Africa. The exhibition highlights include the self-portrait, I’ll Write Whenever I Can, 1965/2004, depicting Beard writing in his diary with his lower body submerged inside the fresh corpse of a crocodile.