Mat Bevel's Museum of Kinetic Art & Surrealistic Pop Science Theater – Tucson, Arizona - Atlas Obscura
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Tucson, Arizona

Mat Bevel's Museum of Kinetic Art & Surrealistic Pop Science Theater

A Tucson museum and performance space full of found-object movable sculptures.  

In an interview with the radio show Studio 360, artist Ned Schaper said “Trash is the great medium of our age.” We’re surrounded by it, he said, so why shouldn’t we do something with it?

What he’s decided to do with it is create sculptures. Over 100 sculptures created from salvaged items fill Schaper’s Museum of Kinetic Art in Tucson, Arizona.

Old rocking horses. Discarded diving boards. An old drum machine. What used to be trash has been repurposed as art by Schaper, a sculptor, poet, and performance artist whose kinetic sculptures were first seen as part of his theater projects and in other exhibitions across the country before settling into their permanent home at the museum in 1983.

Schaper says he doesn’t necessarily have a plan when he begins assembling his found materials. Instead, he “look[s] at things that come to me and wait for things to fit together.” This results in moveable creations that are unpredictable and unique. The objects aren’t just meant for observation, however.  The pieces are transformed from sculpture into sets, props, costumes and characters for Schaper’s one-man theater. The story takes place in the magical world of Beveldom, a “lost land of found objects” where discarded relics from our consumer culture find new life under the guidance of General Belief System Technology Project Expert Mat Bevel.

Update November 2018: Mat Bevel’s Museum of Kinetic Art, the Surrealistic Pop Science Theater and the School of Intuition are now open for special events and classes. 

Know Before You Go

For more information, visit the website or call Paula Schaper at 520-604-6273.