I have been talking about and talking up Jon Beacham for years. It is not really necessary on my part. As this interview (with Joshua Beckman) for Guernica Magazine proves, he can do just fine for himself. See http://www.brooklynrail.org/2013/02/books/joshua-beckman-and-jon-beacham-with-erika-anderson. It is a fantastic interview which revolves around their collaboration project Porch Light but spins off into interesting directions from there. The interview gives one of the best articulations I have seen to date of Beacham’s philosophy of printing and art. I laugh writing that, as Jon would tell me I am full of shit. Philosophy! Art! The Art of Printing! Jon wrestles with such things in his conversation and in his work. I have been reading Douglas Blazek’s OLE very closely of late and you see that same low tolerance for bullshit with Blazek. Blaz wrote in an introduction to OLE, “To hell with artiness and pretentiousness.” That could be Jon talking.
But fortunately or unfortunately the bullshit is true. Like Blazek, Jon is “arty” and his work is pretentious if that means his work is steeped in literary and artistic history. If it means that Jon knows what he is doing (and not doing) and knows who he is and what his work is about. Blazek and Bukowski were pretentious for sure. The difference between Beacham and the leisure poets that Blazek and the Meat School hate so much is that Beacham talks the talk and walks the walk. See http://thebrotherinelysium.com/. His work is a way of life, not a lifestyle. The reference here is to Burroughs and Junkie. Beacham’s work is quite simply the axis around which his life revolves. Everything feeds back into it. Everything relates to it. Beacham, like Burroughs in Junkie, is paranoid and obsessed.
If Jon can speak for himself, his work speaks volumes as well. I think the Boo-Hooray show will bear this out. See http://www.boo-hooray.com/thebrotherinelysium/. The art gallery is a forum that allows Jon’s work to express itself in the courtly environment of the market. I would prefer hearing Jon riff or blow at the bookstore in Beacon or in a loft or in a print shop but that is another matter I will address later. What the show at Boo-Hooray suggests this that there is an audience out there that is receptive to listening to Jon and the work. I certainly hope so because talking to Jon over the past five to six years and listening to the work which I have been lucky to obtain (which is the time period covered by the show) has been some of the most insightful and rewarding conversations I have had.