Martin Beck

born 1963, Bludenz, Austria
lives in New York City and Vienna

Last Night, presented during FRONT’s opening and closing weekends, is a film showing thirteen-and-a-half hours of records as they are played on a vintage Thorens turntable. Despite its strict shot sequence and cool effect, the film evokes resonances of joy through the music being played. It represents one part of Beck’s extended project, Last Night, which consists of multiple, interconnected artworks that all revolve around a singular, ephemeral event: the last party that David Mancuso threw at the Loft’s 99 Prince Street location on June 2, 1984. Through painstaking research based on an archival recording, Beck identified and sequenced the 118 songs played at that final party. Elements of Beck’s project are exhibited in FRONT 2022 at Bop Stop and at Transformer Station. In addition, since 2020, Beck has created a new series of MP3 mixtapes for the triennial as communications over distance that can be downloaded from FRONT’s website. (see below!)

In the words of the artist, Last Night is a poetic construction, as much a private experience as it is memory of something that actually happened: a construction that speaks of history and love, of pleasure and time.” The project points to the ways in which the essential human form of music can bring different people together into new communities. It also plays a role within the genesis of the show. Well before the curatorial process of Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows began, Beck invited the
show’s original co–artistic directors, Prem Krishnamurthy and Tina Kukielski, to a dance party in Brooklyn organized along similar audiophiliac principles as the original Loft parties. This shared experience of community and movement became a reference point in developing the exhibition’s thematic approach.

Bop Stop
Transformer Station

This project was produced in collaboration with Phileas with additional support from the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sports, Republic of Austria

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