Ned Schaper, also known as Mat Bevel, has just taken on the daunting task of opening his own kinetic art museum, filled with sculptures made out of everyday items.
Mat Bevel’s Museum of Kinetic Art, run by the Mat Bevel Company, offers Tucson residents a twist on what they know as modern-day art. With nearly 100 animated sculptures Schaper has created to be put on display, this museum is home to multiple pieces of truly extravagant art. The museum plans to open Saturday, Nov. 5 with a $5 admission charge at the door. I talked with Schaper to learn more about the museum's specialty—kinetic art.
What is Kinetic Art?
Schaper: Kinetic art is art that moves. Kinetic art, as an art form, tends to deal with the art of the movement of things. I use found objects to make theatrical contraptions using any method possible to create movement. Some barely work and need constant maintenance, but that makes them seem almost alive.
What is your position at the museum?
The museum is a collection of sculptures that are actually the props for my one-man theater that I have created over the past 30 years. Mat Bevel's
Museum of Kinetic [Art] is part of the Mat Bevel Company, of which I am the president and sole artist. Mat Bevel is my stage name.
Did you design all of the art pieces?
I built all the pieces, but these are not built by design. I look at things that come to me and wait for things to fit together. I am only a servant of
God. I had no intention of making any of this, but I am the one who payed attention to the possibility of them being reborn and given a new life in theater.
What is your current favorite piece of artwork displayed at the museum and why?
"The Blood Vessel," a large ship-looking piece that I get into as Admirable Bevel. It has lots of moving parts—lots of pulleys, a chandelier, trophies, ski poles, a fog machine, etc.
It is parked in front of "The Energy Plant," which is a smoke stack with large silver rings on top like an atom. I like this piece because when I'm inside as Admirable Bevel with the fog machine going and "The Energy Plant" billowing smoke it looks like some strange ship in the fog.
Admirable Bevel also smokes a pipe, so there's lots of smoke. But that's only when I'm performing. We will have no fog machine at the opening.
What would you like the people of Tucson to know about the Museum of Kinetic Art?
I would like them to know that this is a very unique collection of sculptures. You will see objects doing things you never expected them to do. These are not contrived pieces of art. There's a strange feel of nature to these junk sculptures. It seems as if they are alive.
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