Mary Beach deserved to be an art star. Her collages are in a class with Richard Hamilton’s. But she was incapable of bullshitting her way to the top. She also submerged whatever ambitions she may have had to advance the work of her partner Claude Pélieu. She translated him, published him, promoted him and, when she had money, supported them both on their restless odyssey from Paris to San Francisco to Hawaii to London to New York and other landing points before finally touching down in upstate NY’s Cherry Valley.
Mary died in 2006. She would have been 98 today. I’ll always remember how much she loved to laugh. Byron Coley and Lili Dwight have curated a new show, “Illaminations,” that puts two dozen of her witty collages on display at Rozztox Art, in Florence, Massachusetts. The show is to run through June 4.