Jerry Beck has always been fascinated by old-school circuses, with their mishmash of conveyances emblazoned with signs promising out-of-this-world acts. So much so that they inspired him to create The Revolving Museum.
“When I was in grad school, I was very interested in looking at carnivals as a vehicle for cultural revolution,” says Beck. “We believe art is for everybody and everybody has creative ability. We’re not interested in the hierarchy of the art world.”
He started the project in Boston 30 years ago, transforming buses, abandoned train cars, airline baggage carts, and even a vintage ice cream truck into roving exhibits featuring interactive art. It was engaging, sure. But it also opened up the art world to underserved communities and artists who couldn’t easily access galleries and fine art museums.
In 2017, Beck helped kick off Art Basel by renting a plane to fly up and down Miami Beach displaying a trailing banner that read, “Materialism made my wallet grow fangs.”
The Hollywood, Florida, native returned to South Florida last year, with The Revolving Museum in tow. His current exhibit, “Word Play: Florida Road Show,” comprises a series of vehicles and the museum’s “Giant Head” mascot. It has been drawing crowds at the MASS District Art Walk and other cultural gatherings, with the help of The Revolving Museum’s marketing director, Mario Ruschel Burgoa, and education director, Coraly Rivera.
“When you do public art, it’s unpredictable,” says Beck. “One thing I do know is that people like to have fun, people are curious, and everybody has an opinion. Just being able to interact down in my hometown and around where I grew up is really meaningful.”