Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) is pleased to announce the upcoming solo West Coast museum debut of independent American filmmaker and artist James Benning, James Benning: Quilts, Cigarettes & Dirt (Portraits of America). For more than 40 years exploring the film medium, Benning has engaged with history, memory, and documentary traditions, often encompassing a rigorous treatment of the American landscape. Benning's exhibition at MCASB will present a selection of new photographs and objects from his Portraits series, presented in dialogue with the films READERS and Twenty Cigarettes. Screening information available at mcasantabarbara.org/upcoming-events.
James Benning: Quilts, Cigarettes & Dirt (Portraits of America) is curated by Abaseh Mirvali, Executive Director and Chief Curator. Exhibition text by Constanza Medina, Curatorial Research Associate, and Abaseh Mirvali. Editorial support by Alesha Claveria, UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center Fellowship Curatorial Intern.
Work descriptions by Constanza Medina, Curatorial Research Associate; Alexandra Terry, Associate Curator; Breyer Floyd, MCASB Intern; Evan Moore, MCASB Intern; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.
Click here to read more about James Benning: Quilts, Cigarettes & Dirt (Portraits of America) in e-flux.
About the Artist
James Benning (b.1942, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA) lives and works in Val Verde, California, USA. Benning is a major figure of American cinema. In the late 1960s, he directed his first short films in the experimental-cinema tradition, retaining its formal rigor and taste for conceptual constraints while pioneering the notion of “figurative narrative.” His films rest on an experience of time and perception and its relationship to space. They also approach the notion of place from autobiographical, cultural, political, and historical viewpoints. In 2014, his film, 13 Lakes, was added to the National Film Registry. Benning has been teaching at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987.
Benning’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany (2015); Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna, Austria (2014); VOX Centre de l’image contemporaine, Montreal, Canada (2014); and Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria (2014), among numerous others. Group exhibitions and screenings include Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA (2017); Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany (2017); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2016); Centre d’art de L’Onde, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France (2016); MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, USA (2015); De Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA (2014); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2014, 2006, 1981, 1979); and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA (2013, 2003, 1979, 1978).
Generous support provided by Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants, August Ridge Winery, MCASB Board of Trustees, and MCASB Visionaries.
Special thanks to the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST) and Santa Barbara Public Library. Additional thanks to neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany and O-Town House, Los Angeles, USA.
This project has been made possible thanks to the support of friends, peers, and colleagues. Heartfelt gratitude to:
August Ridge Winery, Bryan Babcock & Lisa Boisset-Babcock, John Backer & Jill Zamborelli-Backer, Melanie Ball, Big Green Cleaning Company, Alex Blair, Mary Blair, Kyle Brace, Donny Brubaker, Lee Chapman, Eric Chirnside, Alesha Claveria, Aebhric Coleman, Tino De Guevara, Casson Demmon, Kim S. Densmore, Sarah Dildine, DJ Free Range, DJ Val-Mar Records, Casimiro Dominguez, Alexander Dorr, Alexandra Douwes, David Edelman, Ivy Erskine, Francesco Fassone, Sam Fitz, Breyer Floyd, Colin Gardner, Robert Giaimo, Nancy Gifford, Ella Grabenheinrich, Graphic Ink, Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, Dick Hebdige, Debra Herrick, Maiza Hixson, Betsy Ingalls, Institution Ale, Austin Janisch, Laura Macker Johnston, Valdas Karalis, Elise Kimball, Jacquelyn Klein-Brown, Mark Koenig, Lauren Koo, Richard & Pamela Kramlich, Amanda Kross, Shannon Lee, Jasmine Linares, Carli Lochner, Sharon Lockhart, Dylan Lustrin, Emma MacArthur-Warner, Alan Macy, Davin Mantell, Thalia Martinez, Carolyn McBrady, Constanza Medina, Danielle Methmann, Ted Mills, Abaseh Mirvali, Monika Molnar-Metzenthin, Evan Moore, Shana Moulton, neugerriemschneider, O-Town House, Nancy Zink O'Connor, Deji Olukotun, Al Partida, Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants, Tom Pazderka, Debby Peterson, Sophia Pfitzmann, Catherine Rabin, Makayla Rawlins, Abby Rightmire, Justine Roddick, Sarah York Rubin, Saje Natural Wellness, Selina Samaniego, Santa Barbara Community College (SBCC), Tina Schlieske, Lauren Sharp, Evan Sherman, Lea Sindija, Crosby Slaught, Shaun Smith, Arturo Soto, Eliot Spaulding, Alexandra Terry, Michael Trambert, Cara Treadwell, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), Ana Urquiaga, Georgene Vairo, Megan Wales, Scott Cameron Weaver, Kristen Weidemann, Molly Wetta, Allen Williams, Charles Wylie