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Mat Collishaw’s “Last Meal on Death Row” at Stephen Webster Beverly Hills

Stephen Webster is not only a fine jewelry designer, he is also a major arts patron.  Webster’s second story gallery space, above his flagship Beverly Hills store, is currently host to Mat Collishaw‘s Last Meal on Death Row.  Collishaw’s latest photography series depicts meticulously arranged still-lives of meals chosen by American death-row prisoners on the last day before their execution.  The “last suppers” of the likes of John Wayne Gacy and Adolf Eichmann are recreated and arranged in the style of 17th century Old Master paintings.  Mundane foods like cheeseburgers or ice cream take on a new meaning, as the pictures become surrogate portraits of the prisoners.  You could be gazing at a Vermeer… if lobster tail, fried potatoes, garlic bread and root beer were on the menu in 1670.  The effect is both beautiful and shocking – when you look beyond the visual to what it relates to: mass murders and public executions.

Mat Collishaw's The Last Supper

Mat Collishaw’s The Last Supper

Stephen Webster, Tracey Emin, Mat Collishaw

Stephen Webster, Tracey Emin, Mat Collishaw

Mat Collishaw "Last Meal on Death Row, Allen Lee Davis"

Mat Collishaw “Last Meal on Death Row, Allen Lee Davis”

Mat Collishaw is an alumn of the group of contemporary British Artists who emerged from Goldsmith’s College in the 1980s, which also includes Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Sam Taylor-Wood, among others.  His best known work, Bullet Hole, is an original photograph of a horrific head wound from a pathology textbook.  He enlarged the photo and created fifteen transparencies , each mounted on its own light box, to show the full image.  The work was originally shown at Damien Hirst’s Freeze in 1988.

Mat Collishaw Last Meal on Death Row

at Stephen Webster until December 7th

202 North Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 310.246.9500.

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