mark beam

Mark Beam created the Yellow Shark sculpture.

random notes

     Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 00:43:54 EDT
     From: MARK BEAM (
Im the sculptor who created the piece that came to be known as "the Yellow Shark" that was used by FZ & Ensemble Modern on the project known as the Yellow Shark....used as a performance prop,cd cover ect.... i've always have been a big fan and i've had an interesting career
I've been productive and ive made these cow sculptures that a man named Steve Oedekerk (a writer/directer of Ace Ventura/Pet detective, The Nutty Professor, Nothing to Lose,Currently doing a computer generated remake to "The Incredible Mr. Lippet with Jim Carrey) anyway....steve is making a show for Fox, an animated series ala the simpsons, using my charectors. I've also beeen busy makin sculpture for exhibits and commisions..

if you check out the website i have
and scroll down you will get a good idea of what i've done and should be able to give you a decent idea of what im about.  I heard of the yellow shark project when i got a call from a friend telling me to read an article on fz in the la times calender section. in the arcticle they are talkin about this fiberglass fish  that frank had in his listening room...i thoughr,"hey, thats me" i called 818 pumpkin, the guy was suprised, said they were wonderin who the fish guy was.....a few minutes later frank called... he was real nice...said he would include my name in any future promotion of the project, and thanked me.Later i was contacted by the german organization who produced the project and they paid was a great little experience

.....i hear the piece is now in germany, in the offices of ensemble berlin i believe...the full story details can be found in the first page of the story in the liner notes of the yellow shark cd...

     From: Yellow Shark liner notes

        It rested for years beside the fireplace of Frank Zappa's basement/listening room -a large , yellow fiberglass fish with droplets of blood painted inexplicably around its mouth.
        Today it resides permanently in Germany, the enduring icon of one of Zappa's most successful musical ventures, a series of concerts in September, 1992, entitled "THE YELLOW SHARK".
        The story of how the fish got from Los Angeles to Europe is also the story of one of the most originally realized performances of new music in history. At least, that is, in the history of those magnificent but often conservative listening rooms known as "concert halls".
        It begins with L.A. artist Mark Beam, a longtime Zappa appreciator who felt compelled to anonymously bestow upon the Zappa family a Christmas present in 1988. Carved out of a surfboard, Beam's "kind of a mutant fish" arrive unnanounced at the offices of Intercontinental Absurdities (Zappa HQ), and eventually found its way to Frank's basement. A note inviting the owner to complete the piece of art by placing an item of choice into the fish's bloody jaw was ignored.
        In the summer of 1991, one Andreas Moelich-Zebhauser, manager of the European contemporary music group, Ensemble Modern, sat in the basement with Zappa and EM conductor Peter Rundel, discussing the music the Ensemble had just commissioned from Frank for the 1992 Frankfurt Festival. Suddenly, Moelich-Zebhauser spied the fish. He took its sailfin for a dorsal.
        "When I saw the yellow shark" Moellich-Zebhauser recalled in English he apologized for, "for me it was completely clear that it must become the symbol of our event, of our tour! Because the yellow shark, he's so pregnant with some of Frank's characteristics. He's very hard and a little poison, but on the other hand he's very friendly and charming. Two things which Frank can be very often: poison for bad people, charming for good ones! Of course, also it's such a good logo."
        Not realizing  Moellich-Zebhauser's bizarre plot, Zappa generously gave the "shark" to him, writing a "little deed" in order to get it past any suspicious customs agents. The deed read: "This is to confirm to whom it may concern that this yellow shark is Andreas  Moellich-Zebhauser's personal fish, and he can do with it whatever he wants. -Frank Zappa."
        "Andreas would drool over that object." said Zappa. "He loved it. The next thing I know, the whole project is being called 'The Yellow Shark', which he said sounds really good in German ("Der Gelbe Hai"), and I said it sounds really dorky in English. People think the name of the music is 'The Yellow Shark'. I said we'll call the evening 'The Yellow Shark'. What the fuck are you going to call it? Doesn't make any difference."  (It might as well be pointed out that there is aesthetic precedent for sharks in Zappa's art, dating to 1971, when the Mothers Of Invention brought undreamed fame to the lowly mudshark in a song of the same name.)