CHRONOLOGY
1970’s

2-Decade-1970-montauk
More extensive photographing of dead and starving elephants in Kenya for the second edition of The End of the Game. Stayed with Bill Woodley, and built a hut in the Aberdares Ruhuti River Valley that Beard used as a blind from which to photograph. The hut is still there.

Algonquin lunches every Thursday with Jerome Hill, Larry Rivers, Vincent Fremont, Andy Warhol, Brigid Polke, and Jonas Mekas.

Collaborated with Andy Warhol on a 27-page collage titled, “Introduction to the Things of Life.” Beard paid many visits to The Factory, Andy Warhol’s studio in New York City. Started photographing for Interview magazine, including Naomi Sims on the back of a crocodile.

Commissioned by Rolling Stone magazine in 1972 to photograph the Rolling Stones tour, “Exile on Main Street.” In the company of Truman Capote, who was also commissioned for the tour, Beard spent two months traveling with the group in Canada and the US.

Beard met writer Terry Southern, who was also covering the Stones’ tour for Esquire magazine. In his recollections of the tour, Southern witnessed the “stress and density” (Beard’s phrase) of the massive, frenzied audiences, and quoted Beard as saying, “The homo-sap is like the elephant, making valiant efforts to adjust to new situations, no matter how hopeless they may be.” Southern drew connections between Beard’s work and the history of collage—notably its use by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso—stating, “The influence of these two giants of modern art are strikingly evident in Beard’s work. Indeed, in certain regards, his artistry may be seen as an exquisite synthesis of three major sources: Dutch/Flemish, Picasso/Braque, and, by his own account, the dark savagery of Francis Bacon.”

Beard also collaborated with Capote on a side story for Life magazine about San Quentin State Prison, with photos of Capote on death row, interviews with Bobby Beausoleil of the Manson Family and other ‘death-rowers.’ Beard, himself, was also photographed in the prison’s gas chamber.

Began filming the story of Lee Radziwill and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s eccentric aunt and first cousin, Edith Bouvier Beale and little Edie, holed up in their crumbling “mansion” on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton. Beard’s original footage, with the working title Sisters, has not yet been screened publicly. It is finally being turned into a documentary which will be released in 2017.

Acquired Thunderbolt Ranch in Montauk, NY in 1973 and later purchased a windmill from Sandpiper Hill House in Ditch Plains, moving it eight and a half miles onto his property. To this day, Thunderbolt Ranch is a gathering place for Beard’s writer, musician and artist friends.

Began writing a film script based on The End of the Game in collaboration with Terry Southern.

Recorded and edited “Dead Elephant Interviews with Francis Bacon,” later used as the introduction in the catalogue for Bacon’s exhibition, “Francis Bacon: Recent Paintings,” organized by curator Henry Geldzahler at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1975.

Beard’s cousin and mentor, the filmmaker and artist Jerome Hill, died in 1972.

From 1972-1975 Beard photographed Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Forest wildlife, living between Hog Ranch in Kenya and Thunderbolt Ranch in Montauk, New York.
Eyelids of the Morning: The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men first printed in 1973 in softcover by A&W Visual Library, New York and in hardcover by New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, Connecticut.
Longing for Darkness: Kamante’s Tales from Out of Africa first published in 1975 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York. Beard was inspired to start the book by Kamante’s “art brut” paintings and drawings. The book was written in Swahili, translated into English and then handwritten for publication.

In Nairobi in 1975, Beard discovered and photographed soon-to-be supermodel Iman, introducing her to Wilhelmina Models in New York.

An animated film based on Longing for Darkness, produced and edited by Beard, with animation by Charlie Jenkins and George Parker and drawings by Kamante Gatura, was exhibited at the New York Film Society Presentation at Lincoln Center, New York City.

Beard’s first one-man show, The End of the Game, at the International Center of Photography from November 1977 to January 1978 included his first giant collages, the dead elephant swimming pool (large photos on the floor, covered with Plexiglas, of disintegrating carcasses in a vast wasteland), and a 60 foot elephant herd print wrapping the entire building. The exhibition was designed by Marvin Israel and was expanded from a 1975 show at Blum Helman Gallery where Beard exhibited all of his dead elephant photographs in a “Dead Elephant Room.”

To coincide with the International Center of Photography show, the second edition of The End of the Game was published by Doubleday, New York in 1977 with an introduction by Joseph Murumbi, the former Minister of State, Foreign Minister and Vice President of Kenya, and an epilogue by Richard M. Laws, the Director of the British Antarctic Survey and former Director of the Tsavo Research Project, Kenya.

Directed the film The Bicentennial Big Foot Blues, produced by the International Center of Photography with cinematography by Jonas Mekas and music by Elliot Murphy. The film, including footage shot in 1964 by Salvador Dalí of Nena von Scheybrügge and Veruschka, was exhibited at the International Center of Photography.
pbOn July 27, 1977, the Montauk mill burned down, along with twenty years of diaries, original works of art (by Lindner, Warhol, and others), and first editions of Africana and rare books.

In 1977, a committee chaired by astronomer Carl Sagan selected a photograph by Beard to be included on the NASA Voyager 2 space probe’s “Golden Record,” containing sounds and images from Planet Earth. The probe is still operational and has entered interstellar space.

Participated in 1979 in Africa: End of the Game, an ABC/American Sportsman TV Film, including Dr. Norman Borlaug’s poignant interviews about global population problems.

Assisted by Eiko Ishioka, a major exhibition of Beard’s work, titled The Last Word from Paradise, was presented at the Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo in 1979. That same year in Tokyo, The Burnt Diaries of Peter Beard exhibition was presented at the Watari Gallery.