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Ben Frost (born Brisbane, Australia) is a visual artist whose work seeks to challenge contemporary norms and values of Western culture and society. Frost’s visual work places common iconic images from advertising, entertainment, and politics into startling juxtapositions that are often confrontational and controversial. He currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia, and exhibits locally and internationally.
The title ‘Ben Frost is Dead’ comes from his 2000 solo exhibition of the same name where he faked his own death. Invitations were created in the form of a newspaper funeral notice and distributed nation-wide. Newspapers labelled him ‘sick’ and his actions ‘perverse,’ when, by complete coincidence, the invitations went out on the same day a local art patron died.
The collaborative exhibition ‘Colossus’ with Roderick Bunter in 2000 at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane featured a 12m x 2.4m mural by the artists, called ‘Where Do You Want To Go Today?’. The mural featured controversial imagery, including masturbating cartoon characters amongst a pastiche of advertising icons. The work was a statement on society’s continuing loss of innocence. In the final week of the exhibition, a disgruntled viewer entered the gallery and slashed one of the paintings with a knife. Police requested the exhibition be closed. In 2002, he exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney as part of ‘Primavera: Young Artists Under 35′, where the same painting – ‘Where do You Want To Go Today?’ – was exhibited. Police again requested the painting be removed due to public concern.
The next year, he moved to Tokyo, where he contributed as an illustrator to magazines such as Black + White, Blue, and Men’s Style for more than 3 years.
In 2005, he moved to Sydney, where he continues to live and work. That same year, he started the online art store and blog portal Stupid Krap, which continues to support and represent a number of notable Australian emerging artists including Anthony Lister, Numskull, Beastman, Kareena Zerefos, E.L.K, Mark Drew, HA-HA, Kill Pixie, and Bridge Stehli. Stupid Krap is currently located in a two-level warehouse in Annandale, which also incorporates Stupid Krap Studios – a multi-disciplinary art collective of ten established and emerging artists.
Frost has been exhibiting throughout Australia and internationally over the last 10 years, including solo shows in London, New York, and San Francisco, as well as group shows in Amsterdam, Berlin, Mongolia, and Singapore. In 2007, Frost participated in Tiger Translate in Beijing, collaborating with local Chinese artists.
Frost is currently self-represented in Sydney, and has had shows in several galleries overseas, including Krause Gallery in New York, and Opus, Zero Cool, and Cosh galleries in the UK.
His work has appeared in countless magazines and newspapers including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Oyster, WeAr, Monster Children, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Ok!, HQ, Eyeline, FHM, Australian Art Collector, Broadsheet, and Art Monthly.
His television appearances include Rush TV in 2010 (ABC3), The Apprentice in 2009 (channel 9), The Barefoot Investor in 2009 (CNBC), Sunrise in 2008 (channel 7), and Today Tonight in 2008 (channel 7).
In 2008, he was a guest speaker at the Semi-Permanent and AG IDEAS conferences throughout Australia.
His work is in the collections of Kerry Stokes, Art Bank, Griffith University, and numerous local and international locations.
Another of his paintings made news in 2007, prompting this story by Anna Edwards, on MX via news.com.au, on July 18, 2007 – Fury at drug-taking kids painting