DAVID BECK
BECK--David L.

We mourn the loss of an extraordinary artist and friend on October 23, to lung cancer. David lived in Manhattan after his graduation from Carnegie Mellon University (1976), but spent the last 30-some years in San Francisco. His earlier work tended towards boxes whose interiors contained puns, surreal scenarios and characters animated by handmade pullies and crankshafts. Larger constructions included full-scale beasts whose bellies displayed vitrines of similarly curious mise-en-scene. Later work became increasingly large, architectural and intricate: "Movie Palace" and "MVSEVM" belong to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, others are in private collections. The obsessive craftsmanship of Beck's work includes handcrafted moving parts, illuminations, hidden elements and working musical instruments. Recent pieces draw from (and add to) the natural world with the invention of insects, mammals, and aquatic creatures of organic beauty whose exposed and precisely-wrought mechanisms create a parallel work of aesthetic enchantment. The charmingly inelegant Dodo bird served David as a lifelong muse. David played saxophone and composed with the bassist, Bill Noertker, as The Melanchoholics. David was a unique personality: understated, charming, reserved, watchful and unendingly curious; erudite yet drawn towards the naive; he was a sly joke-teller with a bone-dry sense of humor, a bane to tele-marketers, an avid flea market shopper and an incredibly warm and caring friend. He leaves a girlfriend, Sidney Russell and her family, a birth family, a chosen family, and a brilliant constellation of devoted friends somehow lucky or deserving enough to have earned his friendship, feeling bereft of him already.

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Published by New York Times on Oct. 28, 2018.
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12 Entries
Scott Mason
January 25, 2019
I was, and we all were blessed to of known or come in contact w/David. I was somewhat close to him playing drums in an earlier jazz group. I am so saddened by his death. He was truly a genius in his own right. No question about that. What he was able to create, build, construct, animate, whatever, was truly a unique use/interpretation of what he wanted us to see. One of a kind. I will miss him, but know he enjoyed himself while with us. SRM
January 25, 2019
Sincere condolences to the family, May you lean every morning on the arm of God as you cope with the dear loss in your life - Isaiah 33:2
BRY
November 3, 2018
I am so sorry for your great loss. May the God who "binds up the brokenhearted" and "comforts all who mourn" (Isaiah 61:1, 2) sustain your family during this challenging time. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.
November 3, 2018
David Beck was an exceptional sculptor and an irreplaceable friend. How lucky we were to know him.
Lorraine Shemesh & Jack Bashkow
November 2, 2018
David Beck was an exceptional sculptor and an irreplaceable friend. How lucky we were to know him. How he will be missed.
Lorraine Shemesh & Jack Bashkow
November 2, 2018
David Beck was an exceptional sculptor and an irreplaceable friend. How lucky we were to know him. How he will be missed.
Lorraine Shemesh Jack Bashkow
November 2, 2018
Our dear friend David, we will always miss you and carry your memory in our hearts.
Melanie and John Parks
November 2, 2018
I am so sorry for your great loss. May the God who "binds up the brokenhearted" and "comforts all who mourn" (Isaiah 61:1,2) sustain your family during this challenging time. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.
AC
October 31, 2018
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
October 29, 2018
Memories of David are too numerous to mention. I knew him for over 60 years. I treasure the few small pieces of his work that I've kept all these years.
October 28, 2018
David Beck was an exceptional sculptor, an inventor with a brilliant mind, and an irreplaceable friend. How we will miss him and how lucky we were to know him.
Lorraine Shemesh & Jack Bashkow
Lorraine Shemesh
October 28, 2018
Showing 1 - 12 of 12 results