Image: Mark Bennett, Home of Dr. Fraiser Crane, 1998 / ink and pencil on vellum / 24 x 36 inches
Don’t miss “Mark Bennett: Dream Houses – The Blueprint Drawings 1992-2017” – an exclusive online ARTSY exhibition focusing on the Mark Bennett unique original “SitCom” drawings of the last two decades just recently released from the artist studio. This presentation ends on September 25th.
Image: Mark Bennett, Town of Mayberry, 2015 / ink & pencil on graph vellum / 24 x 36 inches
Mark Bennett’s (b. 1956, Tennessee) whimsical works engage with pop culture and celebrity to an extreme degree. His blueprint lithographs of Baby Boom era sitcoms and popular television series depict the ultimate pairing of flight of fancy and stoical logic; the purely imaginary floor plans grounded by the dry format of an architect’s design. His works are both pleasingly nostalgic and vaguely disconcerting in their premonition of a society obsessed by television and celebrity culture.
For the past 25 years, Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bennett has made art firmly rooted in the collective American experience of television. His drawings and lithographs are “blueprints” of famous television houses from such classic sitcoms as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch, and Perry Mason. Drawing these fictional dwellings from memory, Bennett documents the minutiae of the characters’ lives by constructing their environments with a painstaking level of detail. His floor plans narrate the American Dream, charting not only the architecture, but also the subtext of our culturally accepted models for living.
You can view this exclusive ARTSY online exhibition of these works now by clicking on the follwing link below:
Image: Mark Bennett, Home of Blanche Devaeuraux, 2015 / ink & pencil on graph vellum / 24 x 36 inches
Born in 1956 in Chattanooga, the artist was a self-described “television addict” as a youth, watching and re-watching episodes until he had memorized the details of more than 45 situation comedies. The instant familiarity inspired in viewers who see these imagined spaces — “homes” where many Americans of the television generation, in effect, “grew up” — reflects the penetrating influence of this medium into our own private houses from the 1950s onward.
Unlike American Pop artists of the 1960s such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, who appropriated images from mass media as subjects for their work, Bennett has reconstructed spaces that were intended only to flicker on the screen. In labeling his seemingly straightforward blueprints with colorful details about the interiors, architecture, and inhabitants, he reflects on the idealized and stereotyped notions of American life as perpetuated by mass culture. He also makes us realize how often that these ideas are, in turn, mirrored in our own domestic architecture.