Marissa Lee Benedict  (b. 1985, Palm Springs, USA) is a visual artist, writer, and independent curator/organizer. From the distillation of algal biodiesel, to the extraction of a geologic core sample with a set of gardening tools, her visual art practice draws on traditions of American Land Art and systems aesthetics to critically observe social and material conditions of infrastructural space.

She has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, the U.S. Pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennial (IT), the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, USA), Contemporary Art Brussels (BE), EXPO Chicago and the Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, USA). She has participated in numerous national and international residencies including Artport Tel Aviv (via the Hyde Park Art Center's Jackman Goldwasser international exchange program); the Banff Centre's Research in Culture: On Energy residency; and is currently a 2018-19 artist in residence at the Van Eyck Academie

For four year, Benedict has produced a series of video installations and sculptural projects in collaboration with partner David Rueter. The artist team continues to work on the subjects of technology, the environment, and social and infrastructural responses to shifts in these arenas, most recently receiving a National Endowment for the Arts "Art Works" grant through the Legacy Foundation for their project Gary Lights Open Works (part of the Heat Light Water Cultural Project). 

Benedict received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and an MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She currently lectures at the University of Oregon in Sculpture and Fiber and is a member and Co-Artistic and Executive Director of Ditch Projects (Springfield, OR) with Mike Bray. She has previously held positions as a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and as Program Coordinator for the Arts, Science & Culture Initiative at the University of Chicago. 




SELECT EXHIBITIONS    (*) indicates solo exhibition; (**) indicates two-person exhibition



Unthought Environments, The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA; curated by Karsten Lund

Transit Screening LoungeDimensions of Citizenship, U.S. Pavilion, Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, IT (in collaboration with David Rueter)


*I Come Apart, Bert Green Fine Art, Chicago, USA

The Dangerous ProfessorsTriumph, Chicago, USA

Tone Circle, Ditch Projects at Private Places, Portland, USA


*Arid Systems, The Ski Club, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago, USA (commission; in collaboration with David Rueter)

**Placelesness, University Galleries, Normal, IL, USA (in collaboration with David Rueter)


*Dark Fiber, EXPO Chicago, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago, USA (in collaboration with David Rueter)

**A House of Dust: Marissa Lee Benedict & Phil Peters, Heaven Gallery, Chicago, USA

The Works: Artists In and From Chicago, Contemporary Art Brussels, Brussels, BE  (catalog excerpt pdf)

*Dark Fiber, Chicago Artists' Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA (in collaboration with David Rueter)

Making Do, Antenna Gallery, New Orleans, LA, USA (in collaboration with Hannah Barco)

Soil Culture: Young Shootstraveling exhibition, UK (with CCANW)

Future Proof, LODGE, Chicago, USA


*Augur, Chicago Artists' Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA

The Chicago Effect: Redefining the Middle, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, USA (catalog pdf)

Food: A Sustainable Table, NCECA Conference 2014, Jewish Museum, Milwaukee, WI, USA (in collaboration with Amber Ginsburg)

dig.mine.core.erase., Harold Washington College, The President's Gallery, Chicago, USA


*Marissa Lee Benedict: MULTIPLICES, threewallSOLO program, threewalls, Chicago, USA (catalog pdf)

Form Follows Function, off a short pier: Marissa Lee Benedict, John Preus, Kevin Reiswig, HOME Gallery, Chicago, USA

Climate of Uncertainty, DePaul Museum of Art, Chicago, USA (catalog excerpt pdf)

The Dig: Marissa Lee Benedict, Allison Rowe and Nina Barnett, Heaven Gallery, Chicago, USA


**Life, in some form, Marissa Lee Benedict & Brittany Ransom, Chicago Artists' Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA

 Joan Mitchell Foundation 2011 MFA Grant Recipients, CUE Art Foundation, NYC, USA (catalog excerpt pdf)

Make Space, MDW Fair, Mana Contemporary, Chicago, USA

Plural Zone, Leroy Neiman Center (SAIC), Chicago, USA

21st Evanston and Vicinity Biennial, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, USA

Drawing for Sculpture, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, USA


The 31st Century Museum: Laboratory @ Chicago, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, USA                            

Experience Is Never Unattached, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, USA


Post-human // Future Tense, Columbia College, Arcade Gallery Chicago, USA

Tropical Labs 4, ICA Gallery, LaSalle College of Art, Singapore, SG

A Fickle Existence, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, USA

Public Light & Space: Public Art Projects for the 21st Century, Richard Gray Gallery, John Hancock Center, Chicago, USA


Learning Modern: the Chicago Building Project, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, USA





Van Eyck Academie. Maastricht, NL


Artport Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, IL (supported by the Hyde Park Art Center's Jackman Goldwasser Residency national and international exhcange program)

2016 -17   

NEA Artworks Grant for Gary Lights Open Works, Legacy Foundation & the Heat Light Water Project, Gary, IN, USA


Banff Research in Culture Residency: On Energy, Alberta, CN

Visiting Artist-in-Residence, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA


Jackman Goldwasser Residency, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, USA (co-residency with Lindsey French, Meghan Moe Beitiks, and Liz Ensz as _ture)

CLUI Desert Research Station, Hinkley, CA, USA (_ture)


BOLT Residency Mentorship (with Erik L. Peterson), Chicago Artists' Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA


Soil Culture Residency, Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, University of Exeter, UK

CLUI Desert Research Station, Hinkley, CA, USA (_ture)


BOLT Residency, Chicago Artists' Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA


Ox-Bow Fall Residency, Ox-Bow Scholarship (Joan Mitchell Foundation), Saugatuck, MI, USA

8550 Ohio (Harold Arts), Chesterhill, OH, USA


ACRE Residency, Simone’s Scholarship, Steuben, WI, USA

Mildred’s Lane, Sister Crow’s Adept Scholarship Fund and Alchemist Shack II Fellow, Narrowsburg, NY, USA


 Joan Mitchell Foundation, MFA Grant Recipient

Vermont Studio Center, Full Fellowship, Johnson, VT, USA

Hatch Projects, Chicago Artists' Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA


Tropical Labs 4 (SAIC participant/representative), LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore, SG





Deparment of Visual Art, graduate studio visits, University of Chicago, USA

Visitng Artist Lecture, College of Dupage, Glen Ellen, IL, USA


Aper_ture: Admitting the light, MCA Live, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA (_ture)

Visiting Artist Lecture, University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA

DIY Particle Sensor Workshop, SkyARTS, hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA

Panelist, "Big Data and the Public Good," Data and Democracy series, Illinois Humanities Council, Chicago, USA

Form Fit Visiting Artist and Lecture, University of Illinois at Chicago, Gallery 400 Chicago, USA

Paper presentation, Human-Non-Human Networks Symposium, SAIC, Chicago, USA


Visiting Artist Lecture & Workshop, Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

Visiting Artist, MICA, Baltimore, MD, USA

Co-presenter, re: Active Listening (a conversation on art, ecology & activism), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

                    (at the invitation of Professor of Political Science, Jane Bennett; with Lindsey French & Meghan Moe Beitiks)

Visiting Artist, UCLA (Grad Studio Visits & Lecture), Los Angeles, USA


Roundtable participant, Excavating the Universe: Physics Interacts with the Arts, The Commons, Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS, USA

Roundtable participant, Institution as Signifier: Education as Art Practice, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago, USA

Visiting Artist Lecture, Alfred University, NY, USA

 Visiting Artist Lecture, Research Studio, Contemporary Practices, SAIC, Chicago, USA

Panelist, Art, Architecture and Energy: What is to be done?, 6018 North and Pivot Arts, Chicago, USA

Visiting Artist Lecture, Harold Washington College, Chicago, USA


 "The sequential placing of things, to make the connection from one to the other: an artist talk above, below and around Algal Biodiesel Processing Station III", Depaul University Museum of Art, Chicago, USA




2015  INTERLOCKING SINGLE-MODE 21-STRAND FIBER OPTIC CABLE, EXPO Chicago, Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), Booth 121, Chicago, USA

A curated screening of 21 short videos from 24 artists. Choreographed as a series of well-timed interjections, interludes, and interlocutions, the 21 videos being screened interrupted Dark Fiber (a video installation by Marissa Lee Benedict & David Rueter) on the hour, every hour, over the course of the 3-day EXPO Chicago art fair.

2015 Line of Sight, Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA
An evening screening of short films and videos solicited via an open call to artists and filmmakers in the Chicago region and beyond. Although open in its curatorial premise, the videos selected for the Line of Sight screening critically address (1) the method of the video or film’s transmission from author to gallery and (2) the media format and/or playback device by which the video is projected in the gallery. 





Artforum, “Critics Pick: Unthought Environments,” Abigail Winograd

Antennae Magazine, "Unthought Environments," Interview with Giovanni Aloi and Karsten Lund



Chicago Tribune, "What would a Soviet propagandist have done with Petcoke?," Lori Waxman

Chicago Reader, "The petcoke problems of the southeast side hit the MoCP," Ionit Behar

Chicago Post-Tribune, "Art project to put lights in Gary parks," Nancy Colturn Webster


Artforum, "Golden Gate," Zeenat Nagree

Visual Art Source, Marissa Lee Benedict & David Rueter, Robin Dluzen

Water After Borders, "Water in Art," Curated by Doug Fogelson


Newcity Art, After a time: A Newcity Artist Project, in collaboration with Sarah Belknap & Joseph Belknap

Newcity Art, Visiting Artist: Marissa Lee Benedict

Newcity Art, Breakout Artists 2013: Chicago’s Next Generation of Image Makers, Jason Foumberg

Make Space, "Other Investigations: Amber Ginsburg & Marissa Lee Benedict on Bio-plastic and Collaboration", Jason Judd


Artinfo Blog, Chicago Artists are Turning Galleries into (Art)isanal Breweries, Benjamin Sutton 

Chicago Magazine‘Gallerybrewing’ Is Now a Thing in the Chicago Art Scene, Jason Foumberg

HyperallergicThree Summer MFA Shows Tackle Painting and Its Discontents, Alison Meier 


Make Space, "Make Space Studio Visit: Marissa Lee Benedict", Etta Sandry

Huffington Post, “School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago 2011 MFA Sculpture Grads”, Kimberly Brooks, 6/17/11 (Feature) 

 Artlog,  Meet the Class of 2011, Pauline Eiferman


 Post Human// Future Tense, Catalogue/ Essays, Columbia College Press (GRAFT)

ArtSlant Chicago, Welcome Back, Abraham Ritchie 

Public Light & Space: Public Art Projects for the 21st Century, Catalogue Essay/ Interview/ DVD, SAIC





“Arid Systems: Observations on extremophiles in an age of extra–, hyper–, super– objects,” Antennae Issue 37, Antennae Magazine 

 "Particulate Atmospheres: Dust, Data and States of Suspension," Data, Democracy and the Human Story: A Companion Reader (Volume 2), Illinois Humanities Council


(editor) Dark Fiber: A Companion Guide to Interpreting Internet Infrastructure, self-published 2013

 Newcity, “After a time: A Newcity Artist Project” (September 5 2013) (in collaboration with Sarah Belknap & Joseph Belknap)

Newcity, “Visiting Artist: Marissa Lee Benedict” (May 7 2013)



2018 - present     Co-Artistic and Executive Director, Ditch Projects, Eugene, OR, USA

2017 - present     Artist Member, Ditch Projects, Eugene, OR, USA

2014 - 16              Board of Directors, Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA




2016 - present  Instructor, Sculpture | Fiber, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA

2014 - 2016 Program Coordinator, Arts, Science & Culture Initiative, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

2014 - 2016 Lecturer, Fiber & Material Studies Department, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

2012 - 2016 Lecturer, Sculpture Department, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

2012 - 2013  Artist Assistant, Frances Whitehead, Chicago, USA

2013 Exhibitions Site Manager, Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago · Chicago, USA

2013 Artist Assistant (project based), Jessica Stockholder, Chicago, USA

2012 Installation Assistant, A. Laurie Palmer, Chicago, USA

2011 Installation Assistant, Wolfgang Laib, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, USA

2010 - 2011 Artist Assistant, Embedded Artist Program, Frances Whitehead, Chicago, USA




2009 · 2011 School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Master of Fine Arts, Sculpture

2003 · 2007 Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Bachelor of Fine Arts, Illustration/Art History

2005 · 2006 Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), European Honors Program · Rome, Italy · Independent Fine Arts Studio, Art History



In alphabetical order:

Andrew Barco

Nina Barnett

Meghan Moe Beitiks

Sarah and Joseph Belknap

Lindsey French

Amber Ginsburg

Luis Palacios (as (GRAFT))

Hannah Barco

David Rueter

Erin Washington



Spencer Hawes (2018)

Adam Mansour (2015-2017)

Juan Luis Olvera (2012-2016)