David Buckingham

My work, in general, is about boundaries: finding where the line is, and then gently crossing it. I don’t actively court controversy, but there are those who find some of my subject matter challenging.

I’m an avid film fan, and for my pieces I select movie lines from films that have an edge, a darkness, a certain visceral appeal, like SQUEAL LIKE A PIG, BOY, from the rape scene in Deliverance. Or ME SO HORNY ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME, from Full Metal Jacket. Or ALL THE ANIMALS COME OUT AT NIGHT, from Taxi Driver. These are films that have worked their way into the national consciousness, as well as in everyday conversation. It is truly hilarious to watch people encounter the movie lines for the first time; invariably they end up acting out the scenes, complete with accents. That’s my definition of interactive.

The role of the gun in America is another one of my themes. This country was built on the gun, and here in Los Angeles it’s often still that way: I hear large-caliber gunshots on a regular basis and last week there was a wild shootout in my own neighborhood that left two men dead. Movie posters often feature a gun-toting hero/villain. The gun is a national icon, as American as apple pie and adultery. I started making assassins’ guns (“Sirhan Sirhan”, “Squeaky Fromme”, “Son of Sam”, Dan White”, “Mark David Chapman”, etc), then moved on to movie and television guns (“Dirty Harry”, “Barney Fife”, etc), then onto political guns (Dick Cheney’s shotgun). All of my guns are historically accurate and to scale. There are those who see the gun series and think I am some kind of gun nut, and others who see the guns as a very powerful anti-gun statement. I agree with them both.

Either way, I aim to provoke a reaction in the viewer, whether good or bad. I think all readings of my work are valid.

I have to admit I am influenced by Lenny Bruce, my favorite American comic. Bruce pushed the boundaries of what could be said in public, from the stage, and ended up paving the way for a whole generation of comics that came after him. He also paid a heavy price for his outspokenness. I don’t aim to be a martyr like him for the cause of art by any means. But I’m not afraid to make what I think is cool, no matter what anybody says about it. People who ‘get’ my work are wildly enthusiastic about it. I don’t think of these people as collectors; I consider them accomplices.

A lot of my work is very personal. I was a professional writer for 20 years before sculpture became my magnificent obsession, so you’ll see a lot of text in my work. I love language in all its forms. It’s weird, the things that have stuck with me: chance remarks I heard a couple of decades ago reverberate in my head like I heard them yesterday. Australian slang. Snippets of film dialogue. A refrain from an obscure song. A smart-ass comment. Any of that can make its way out of my head and into my work. The din inside of my skull can be deafening, like there are 20 different radios tuned to 20 different stations. Converting these random thoughts into metal is one way of exorcising the demon.

David Buckingham


Born 1958; Lives and works in Los Angeles, California

Education

Rivington School, New York City

Solo Exhibitions

2010 DON’T HATE ME BECAUSE I’M BEAUTIFUL, Marina Cain Contemporary Art, San Francisco, CA
2009 AS THE WORLD BURNS, Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago, IL
AS SEEN ON TV, Marina Cain Gallery San Francisco, CA and Berlin, Germany
ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME, Peter Mendenhall Gallery, L.A.
2008 DARK SIDE OF THE SUN, O.K. Harris, New York, NY
HOW TO TALK DIRTY AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, Marina Cain Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2007 NO MORE GREASY KID STUFF, Aaron Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL
PLAYING WITH FIRE, Lois Lambert Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2006 DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE, Lois Lambert Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2005 BLOOD AND IRON, Lois Lambert Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
CALIFORNIA SCREAMING: NEW WORK FROM LOST ANGELES, Aaron Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL

Group Exhibitions

2009 THE GUN SHOW, DA Center for the Arts, Pomona, CA
LA to OC: EXTREME, Orange County Center for the Arts, Santa Ana, CA
2008 St. CLAUDE COLLECTIVE, Prospect 1, New Orleans, LA
INAUGURAL GROUP SHOW, Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
BRAD BENEDICT’S SIDESHOW, Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
INTERVENTION – Neo (dark) pop by 3 contemporary artists, Pharmaka Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
BRAD BENEDICT’S SIDESHOW II, Robert Berman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2007 GREETINGS FROM THE AMERICAN DREAM, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA
ARCHEOFACTS (urban archeology), Marina Cain Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006 IN HARM’S WAY, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, NY
KATRINA YOU BITCH, Barrister’s Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2005 THE ART OF THE COLLECTOR: THE JIM FITTIPALDI COLLECTION Curated by Matt Aston, MJ Higgins Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Publications

David Buckingham & Wrangler Blu Bell Italy
David Buckingham in Harpers Bazaar Espana “Confidencial”
David Buckingham “Dazed and Confused”
David Buckingham at MMGalleries (now Cain Schulte), Dewitt Cheng, ARTnews, June 2008, pp.13-14.
The BEST Christmas Present!, Perez Hilton, http://perezhilton.com/tv/ index.php?ptvid=013c6a4a55033
Buckingham, David: Clean, Sober and Politically Incorrect, Marianna Stark, March 23, 2008
Metal illustration for William Safire’s New York Times column
ARTFORM: “Heavy Metal: Down and Dirty with Artist David Buckingham,” by Jennifer Appendrodt, 944, September 2008, p. 56.
Still Life: David Buckingham,” Alyn Weisman, Moving Pictures Magazine, Fall 07, pp. 88-90
Pick of the Week, L.A. Weekly, July 2007