NUIG Professor Adrian Frazier’s fantastic book on one of Ireland’s most famous living sculptors, John Behan, is now available at Charlie Byrne’s. Some who know John Behan think of him as without question a Dubliner. For others, after forty years there, he is a fundamental part of Galway. His work, however, belongs to Ireland as a whole and, artistically speaking to the world.
Behan’s art employs numerous representations: songbirds, crows, fish, boats, Icarus and Dedalus, but the iconic figure for him is the bull. Bulls of many sizes and breeds, in various castings and styles, are anxious or angry, contented or fighting. Sometimes they belong to the story of King Minos in Crete, sometimes to Maeve and The Táin, to a Spanish bullring or a field in Tipperary. Some are king of the herd, some are led to slaughter. Behan’s hundreds of bronze bulls are a poignant and profound exploration of the fate of the male, particularly the Irish male, in our coming times.
This generously illustrated tribute to John Behan by his friend, the distinguished writer and academic, Adrian Frazier, is a fitting celebration of one of Ireland’s most famous living sculptors.