Peter Beard is inarguably a household name in the fine arts and a quasi legend, due to his extravagant lifestyle and associations with celebrities like Jackie O and famous models such as Iman and Cheryl Tiegs.
What most people may not know is that Peter created an immensely seminal more than 30 years ago with The End of the Game, his chilling chronicle of disaster at Kenya's Tsavo National Park, where tens of thousands of elephants starved because of encroaching civilization and conservation mismanagement.
“The deeper [the white man] went into Africa,” Beard writes, “the faster the life flowed out of it, off the plains and out of the bush and into the cities, vanishing in acres of trophies and hides and carcasses.”
The emotional impact of these pictures is immense, giving an apocalyptic feel to the whole volume. It is one of the greatest treatises in both art, photography and history of the latter 20th century
In 1993, Peter Tunney (a great artist now in his own right) opened a permanent gallery in Soho called The Time is Always Now on Broome St. Walking in, you felt like you were walking into a large cavernous African home in Kenya- rustic in feel and filled to the brim with all sorts of ephemera and photographs by Peter Beard. The gallery became the site of a nonstop party hosted almost nightly by Tunney and Beard; the ultimate time-capsule of the 20th century --- all our tragic beliefs and attitudes about race, sex, ethnicity, capitalism, power, corruption, ecology, celebrity, sport, beauty, eroticism, and death.
Peter's career was still not fully embraced by the art world, considering the tremendous demand to collect his work and prices his works have commanded at auction.
Peter’s own curious art form is a combination of photography and collage. The form is one Beard has used for decades, most notably in his notorious diaries, which are nothing if not original. Alternately known for his pictures of Africa and African wildlife, his photo-collage “diaries” incorporating everything from news clippings to smears of his own blood, his photographs of international supermodels and rock stars. His vision he has always expressed most hauntingly with his work, an extremely eccentric oeuvre that transcends every genre and resembles nothing outside of its creator’s fervidly bizarre imagination.