• Dark Fiber at Contemporary Art Brussels (April 21 - June 27)

    Dark Fiber at Contemporary Art Brussels (April 21 - June 27)

    Dark Fiber will be showing alongside some incredible Chicago artists as part of The Works at Contemporary Art Brussels curated by Dieter Roelstrade, Abigail Winograd and Eléonore de Sadeleer. Opening April 21 2015.

    "This exhibition explores notions of labor and effort through the work of nine Chicago based artists. Chicago can hardly be thought of as a “soft” city when compared to its coastal counterparts; as the poet Carl Sandburg wrote, it is a “city of big shoulders”, a distinctly blue collar metropolis, a heartland of the working man and woman. If for this reason alone, Chicago is a fitting setting to explore art’s relationship to work, labor and effort.

    The Works presents a variety of Chicagoan approaches to this discourse: Marissa Lee Benedict & David Rueter, Theaster Gates, and Dan Peterman contextualize their multidisciplinary practices within a wider scope of research and activism, reflecting first and foremost on artistic production as a vehicle for ecological and social reflection. Other artists in the exhibition explore artmaking and its inextricably ties to daily life, as in Michelle Grabner’s paper weavings, or Tony Lewis’ site specific wall text – made specifically for this exhibition – based on selections from the classic Life’s Little Instruction Book, a compendium of advice. Lewis will also present a largeformat, sitespecific drawing made at a nearby basketball court for this exhibition, further tying his work to the bond between art and everyday life. 

    Matthew Metzger and Geof Oppenheimer investigate the connection between artmaking, the body, and labor: Metzger’s new series of photorealist paintings of antique machete blades, examines the shoulder – not the head – as a corporeal epicenter of labor and abstraction. Oppenheimer, meanwhile, explores binaries of white collar and blue collar work in his “Embarrassing Sculpture”. Here, Brooks Brothers slacks, an emblem of the American white collar worker, pool around the ankles of a slick marble and steel sculpture, cumbersomely (and phallically) weighed down by a heavy leaf blower.

    Finally, Zachary Cahill and William Pope L.’s multifarious, often confounding textbased paintings probe the intersections of language, consumerism, and social discourse. For this exhibition, Cahill will produce a new painting installed on the ceiling of the space, while Pope L. will exhibit a video, and a painting from a recent series that confronts meaning and language utilizing uncanny, socially charged phrases (Gold people hang their children from their servants).

    Ultimately, what binds the artists included in The Works are their interests in hybridized notions of artistic agency. By integrating teaching, community leadership, multidisciplinary research, and writing into their practices, they challenge the boundaries of art production as a purely studio based pursuit. In this way, a uniquely Chicagoan approach emerges; one that is hands on, sincere, and deeply invested in the intersections of art and life. Furthermore, as a city with a profound industrial history whose identity continues to evolve through its shifting relationship to labor and capital, Brussels provides an apt European context for this unique portrait of Chicago and its artists.

    The Works is curated by Dieter Roelstraete and Abigail Winograd in collaboration with Eléonore de Sadeleer. Dieter Roelstraete, formerly Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, is currently a member of the curatorial team of Documenta 14. Abigail Winograd is a writer, curator, and Ph.D. candidate based in Chicago. Eléonore de Sadeleer is the director of the CAB."

  • Dark Fiber at Chicago Artists Coalition (March 6- March 26)

    Dark Fiber, video still (2015), Marissa Lee Benedict & David Rueter

    Dark Fiber

    A collaboration between Chicago Artists Coalition BOLT Resident & Mentor Marissa Lee Benedict and David Rueter

    Opening Reception: March 6, 2015, 6-9pm

    Exhibition Dates: March 6 – March 26, 2015

    Screening of Line of SightMarch 19, 2015

    Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) is pleased to present Dark Fiber, an inaugural collaboration between Chicago-based artists Marissa Lee Benedict (BOLT Resident & Mentor) and David Rueter.

    Streamed into the gallery over a fiber optic cable that snakes up from CAC’s lower-level studios, Dark Fiber is a single-channel video projection that makes an oblique cut through the darkened exhibition space. In their video, Benedict & Rueter labor to fabricate – through acts both practical and imagined, factual and fictionalized – the infrastructure of a new unauthorized high-speed global telecommunications network. The new network operates alongside, but in the shadows of, the public Internet.

    Dark Fiber traces a different approach to network representation, drawing lines that hop between systems and scales, through vast landscapes, industrial infrastructure, media apparatuses, walls and conduits, lived space and imagined worlds. The result is not an understanding delivered whole, but an experience afforded by walking a path.

    Dark Fiber, video still (2015), Marissa Lee Benedict & David Rueter


    Line of Sight

    Video series screening 

    Chicago Artists Coalition | BOLT exhibition space | Thursday, March 19, 2015 | 7:00-8:30 PM

    Free and open to the public.

    The Specter, video still (2015), Alyssa Moxley 

    On March 19th, Dark Fiber – a video installation by Marissa Lee Benedict and David Rueter on view at CAC – will go dark. A series of video projections solicited via an open call to artists and filmmakers in the Chicago region and beyond will take over the screen. 

    Although open in its curatorial premise, the videos selected for the Line of Sight festival 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.
    Evening Program
    Phil Peters,Island (2015)
    Kathryn Trumbull Fimreite, Endeavor II  (2014)
    Stephanie Graham, Konnor (2015)
    Lindsey French, Packet Switchgrass (Panicum verbatem) (2015)
    Cristen Leifheit, Wire & Roots (2013)
    Jeremiah Jones, The Information (2014)
    Kayla Anderson, Beaming Baudrillard: What the Lamp Saw (2015)
    Alyssa Moxley, The Specter (2015)
    Donny Gettinger, Wake Up (2015)
    Andrew Rosinski, Pathways (2014)
    Island, video still (2015), Phil Peters 


  • The Chicago Effect @ HPAC (June 28, 2014)

    Assaf Evron, 
    Untitled (series R) 
    archival inkjet print 
    1 out of 5 in series 


    Exhibition and Collaborative Experimental Program Examines the Concept of the Middle 

    Chicago—In August, Hyde Park Art Center will unveil a group exhibition that takes a seemingly 
    pedestrian topic and turns it on its head. "The Chicago Effect: Redefining the Middle" is an 
    exhibition and public program that engages artists and practitioners in considering conditions of 
    the middle—both conceptual and concrete. Artwork on view in “The Chicago Effect” will explore 
    permeable boundaries, liminal spaces, and in-betweens, identifying and asserting the necessity 
    of the middle as a fertile improvisational space that becomes a creative engine, and raising 
    questions about the value of a middle-man, a middle class, a moderate political position, and 
    even the middle ground between formal and material states. Using the Art Center as a model for 
    how an arts institution can occupy the space of the middle to foster intercommunity connectivity 
    and spur creative production, public programming and a printed catalogue will accompany the 
    exhibition to offer analyses of how mid-sized organizations can serve and engage audiences. 

    Co-curated by Director of Exhibitions & Residency Programs Allison Peters Quinn, Residency 
    & Special Projects Manager Megha Ralapati, and New York-based guest curator Christopher 
    K. Ho, the exhibition encourages movement away from the poles. The curators frame the 
    position of the middle as an essential condition of the creative process, selecting artwork that 
    exemplifies this idea. “The Chicago Effect” includes work by Marissa Lee Benedict, Devon 
    Dikou, Essex/Olivares, Assaf Evron, Jamie Hayes, Patrick Meager, Mike Smith, Jan Tichy, 
    and others.

    We’ve found our position in ‘the middle’ to be fertile ground for creativity and connectivity—both 
    for the Art Center as an institution and for the artists and communities we work with,” said 
    Executive Director Kate Lorenz. “We’re excited to partner with artists and organizations in ‘The 
    Chicago Effect’ to present alternate viewpoints of the middle and its benefits to the creative 
    process. The middle can be a place of uncertainty, but that’s exactly what makes it so exciting. 
    Those moments can be used to turn the middle into an incubator for radical thought.” 

    Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014, Hyde Park Art Center is somewhere in the middle of its 
    history. An organization that has developed a lasting legacy over time, its institutional identity 
    has always been oriented to the new. The Art Center embraces occupying this middle ground: 
    the space of tension between past and future, the grey area of openness to what could be, the 
    place of connection between opposing elements. By being comfortable with the middle—being a 
    mid-sized institution, supporting artists at the emerging and blockbuster levels and everywhere 
    in between, straddling the line between contemporary art gallery and community center—the Art 
    Center has grown into a space of creative production that connects diverse audiences unlike 
    any other in Chicago. 

    Using the Art Center model as a laboratory, “The Chicago Effect” includes a year-long think tank 
    in which teams of academics and practitioners in diverse fields question assumptions about how 
    an art center can and should function. These projects inspired a complementary program of 
    experimental interventions, which will be presented throughout the run of the exhibition. 
    Representatives from DePaul University, IDEO, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Rhode 
    Island School of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of 
    Chicago’s Science of Philanthropy Initiative will physically and conceptually adapt the Art 
    Center’s administration, architecture, design, and programming leading up to and during the 
    exhibition. A catalogue documenting these trials will serve as a blueprint for experimental ways 
    the art center of the future might effectively engage with and serve its community. 

    The public is invited to celebrate the “The Chicago Effect” and all the exhibitions on view at the 
    Art Center’s 75th Anniversary Block Party BBQ Bash on Saturday, September 13 from 12 – 

    About Christopher K. Ho 
    Christopher K. Ho lives and works in New York and is currently the resident curator of the 
    Jackman Goldwasser Residency at Hyde Park Art Center. Recent solo exhibitions of his artwork 
    include Privileged White People at Forever & Today, Inc., New York and Lesbian Mountains in 
    Love at the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines. He has participated in the Chinese, Busan and 
    Incheon, South Korea Biennials and exhibited at Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens and Queens 
    Museum of Art. His curatorial projects and artwork have been featured in, Art in 
    America, Art Papers, ArtReview, Bomb, Modern Painters, The New York Times, and TimeOut 
    New York.

  • WALK/TALK series @ Comfort Station (June 23rd & June 24th)

    WALK/TALK series @ Comfort Station (June 23rd & June 24th)

    The psychoacoustic phenomena of a "missing fundamental" occurs when the inner ear attempts to receive a two-tone stimuli. In processing two  inputs simultaneously, the brain either masks one frequency with the other or produces what is known as a "combination tone," a "sum tone," a "difference tone," a "resultant tone," or a "phantom tone." A "phantom tone" is not equivalent to the sum of its parts: it is a unique frequency generated by the non-linear combination of its components. 

    Referencing the sonic production of a "phantom tone," the WALK/TALK series involves the act of pairing two "frequencies": (1) the reading of an original piece of writing and (2) a specific site. Begun last summer at the ACRE residency by Alyssa Moxley, Milad Mozari, Phil Peters & David Rueter, the event is an investigation into the resonance of language and place. The 3rd & 4th iterations of this series will take Comfort Station as a starting point, branching out into the surrounding Logan Square community from there. Investigating parks and alleyways, public and private spaces, the walks will move intentionally from word to word, place to place, producing a series of innumerable and complex audible "phantom tones.”

    WALK/TALKS on June 23rd & June 24th, 2014 included artists: Milad MozariAlyssa MoxleyDavid Rueter, Marissa Lee Benedict,Dao NguyenLindsey FrenchGuy Eytan and Annie Raccuglia.

    Milad Mozari

    Alyssa Moxley

    David Rueter

    Marissa Lee Benedict

    Dao Nguyen

    Lindsey French

    Guy Eytan

    Annie Raccuglia

  • Mead! (June 12th, 2014)

    A year and a half ago, I began brewing mead as part of two-person exhibition at Chicago Artists Coalition titled "Life, in some form" (curated by Christina Cosío & exhibiting alongside artist Brittany Ransom

    At long last, the mead is brewed, bottled, custom labeled & ready for pickup. A $10-$15 donation is suggested (cash or paypal). Contact me if you'd like a bottle and live in the Chicago area!

    Inline image 1Inline image 2

    Inline image 3

  • CCANW Residency Announcement (May 28th, 2014)


    Soil Culture 
    Major arts contribution to the UN International Year of Soils 2015 
    Press Release 28 May 2014 

    The Soil Culture programme uses the arts to inspire a deeper public 
    understanding of the importance of soil - a resource on which the whole of 
    civilization depends but many take for granted. 

    Healthy soils are not only essential for the production of food but are a vital part 
    of our global ecosystem, acting as a carbon sink to reduce the impact of climate 
    change. Today, contamination, compaction, erosion, flooding and salinisation are increasingly 
    threatening soils around the world, and an appreciation of our soils is badly needed. 

    The arts can engage people in ways that science rarely does and we are delighted to have 
    already attracted over 270 artists from 21 countries, including Thailand, Ukraine and Russia, for 
    the first round of artist residencies taking place in the Devon, Somerset and Cornwall later this 

    The first three residencies have just been awarded to Marissa Lee Benedict (USA) working at the 
    Environment and Sustainability Institute/ University of Exeter in Penryn, Jonny Briggs (UK) 
    working at White Moose gallery in Barnstaple and Karen Guthrie (UK) at Hauser & Wirth 
    Somerset, described by the Guardian as the ‘next big thing in the art world’.

    A native of Southern California, Marissa Lee Benedict is a sculptor, researcher, writer, explorer, teacher and avid amateur of many fields and disciplines. Motivated by a sense of critical wonder, Benedict’s artistic practice is an ongoing investigation into the complex, and ever evolving, relationship between humans and the material world. Rooted in research and experimentation, she is drawn to systems that allow equal space for planned action and uncontrollable reaction. Working with biological, chemical and physical processes, her projects range from growing algae under florescent lights to digging up geological core samples in the California desert.

  • Augur @ CAC (January 30th, 2014)

    Augur @ CAC (January 30th, 2014)

    press release


    A solo exhibition by BOLT Resident Marissa Lee Benedict

    Opening Reception: March 7th, 6-9 PM

    Exhibition Dates: March 7th – March 27th

    Presented by Chicago Artists Coalition’s BOLT Residency, Augur is a new immersive installation produced by artist Marissa Lee Benedict. An extension of Benedict’s ongoing investigation into processes of research, collection, extraction and cultivation, this solo exhibition will feature a 4-channel video installation depicting Benedict’s repeated attempts to collect a core sample from the arid, clay-hardened surface of Harper Dry Lake located in Hinkley, CA.

    Working to cut into the parched ground and gain a glimpse of what might lie beneath, Benedict tries to gain traction in the harsh landscape via a series of gardening tools (a sledge hammer, a bucket, a shovel, a drill, and a series of pipes) and amateur soil sampling techniques. The show’s title, Augur, plays between the words "augur" – to portend a good or bad outcome of an event or circumstance, to foresee or predict– and "auger" – a hand tool often used by soil scientists, geologists and glaciologists to bore holes into the earth.

    Just as the aperture of a camera opens to allow light to pass though, Benedict’s repeated attempts to extract and expose the strata below speaks to the artist’s process of searching and re-searching, striving to make tangible connections with the elusive or imperceptible. 

    A native of Southern California, Marissa Lee Benedict is a sculptor, researcher, writer, explorer, teacher and avid amateur of many fields and disciplines. Motivated by a sense of critical wonder, Benedict’s artistic practice is an ongoing investigation into the complex, and ever evolving, relationship between humans and the material world. Rooted in research and experimentation, she is drawn to systems that allow equal space for planned action and uncontrollable reaction. Working with biological, chemical and physical processes, her projects range from growing algae under florescent lights to digging up mud samples and assembling large-scale microbial fuel cells. Most recently, she built a 10' ft wooden rowboat to search for lightening strikes and radio signals on the open waters of Lake Michigan.

    Currently based in Chicago, IL, Benedict received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2007 and an MFA in 2011 from the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where she currently teaches. She has shown most recently in Chicago at threewalls (threewallSOLO), the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago Artists' Coalition, Mana Contemporary, the Evanston Art Center, Heaven Gallery, Columbia College, the Sullivan Galleries, and in NYC at the Cue Arts Foundation. She received a fellowship to attend Ox-Bow’s Fall 2013 Residency program, and was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Fellowship in 2011.

  • BOLT RESIDENCY: Preview 3 @ CAC (January 29th, 2014)

    BOLT RESIDENCY: Preview 3 @ CAC (January 29th, 2014)

    BOLT RESIDENCY: Preview 3

    Opening Reception: February 7, 6 – 9pm
    Exhibition Dates: February 7 – February 27, 2014

    The third year of Chicago Artists Coalition’s BOLT Residency program kicks off with its annual exhibition, Preview 3. This inaugural exhibition features the 2013-2014 BOLT Resident artists Annette Barbier, Erik Peterson, Jovencio De La Paz, Oliverio Rodriguez, Marissa Lee Benedict, Rashayla Brown, Reut Avisar, Sabba Elahi and the 2013-2014 BOLT Mentors Jennifer Mills and Christopher Ottinger. Preview 3 brings together the BOLT Residents for their first and only all-group show at Chicago Artists Coalition. This year’s group exhibition will be curated by BOLT mentor, Christopher Ottinger and CAC’s Exhibitions Assistant, Stevie Reynolds.This exhibition presents early iterations of the artists’ works, offering viewers a glimpse of solo shows to come, which will begin in March 2014. 

  • Dig.mine.core.erase @ Harold Washington College (January 9th, 2014)

    Dig.mine.core.erase @ Harold Washington College (January 9th, 2014)

    dig. mine. core. erase.

    30 E. Lake St., 11th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601

    Two public receptions will be held on Tuesday, January 14:
    11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    The President’s Gallery at Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, presents “dig. mine. core. erase.,” featuring Chicago-based artists Amy BabinecMarissa Lee Benedict, and Erin Washington.   This exhibition will feature the artists’ various tactics for exposing otherwise hidden histories – by excavating abandoned mines, by taking tree core samples, and by revealing erasure marks.  dig. mine. core. erase. will present a wide variety of artistic media – painting, drawing, photography, video, collage, sculpture, and text.  

    Amy Babinec has spent the past few years investigating abandoned, collapsed coalmines in southern Illinois, and the resulting phenomenon of subsidence that causes giant sinkholes, which can devour houses and ruin the landscape.  She documents the sites in place and scavenges the dated detritus (old bottles, ceramics, photographs, etc..) for use in her meticulously crafted paintings and drawings. 
    Marissa Lee Benedict utilizes her position as “a public amateur” to research and experiment with various scientific functions.  She has recently been employing dendrochronology, which uses tree-core samples to analyze the tree rings for the purposes of dating climate change and past geologic events.  She presents her work as documentary photographs and videos, alongside aestheticized presentations of the core samples from a wide range of tree types.
    Erin Washington submerges to psychological depths to reveal hidden layers of emotion and discomfort.  She extends her practice with this exhibition by inviting members of the Harold Washington community to contribute to a daily routine of writing on a chalk panel.  She also presents small paintings and collages.
  • Re: (co)mplexity Roadtrip: CLUI's Desert Research Station, Double Negative, Spiral Jetty & Sun Tunne

    Re: (co)mplexity Roadtrip: CLUI's Desert Research Station, Double Negative, Spiral Jetty & Sun Tunne


    From December 29th, 2013 - January 13th, 2014 I will be on the road with artists Meghan Moe Beitiks and Lindsey French as we travel the west, co-creating work in response to the landscape and to three iconic Earthworks of the 60s and 70s: Michael Heizer's Double Negative, Robert Smithson's Sprial Jetty and Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels. We will be spending our first five days of the trip in residence atCLUI's Desert Research SataionImages, responses and our collective research can be found at Special thanks, and much love, to Harry Benedict for lending us his Ford F150 - who we've now name Lola - for our travels.

  • Eva's Launch (October 24th, 2013)

    Dear Chicago, and friends near and far,
    I want to personally invite you to join us for the maiden voyage of my 10 ft. Maine peapod rowboat, Eva, this Sunday, October 27th as artist Lia Rousset and I set out from Hollywood Beach (Thorndale and Sheridan) at 9 AM. Five months in the making (and one month after her scheduled launch date), we will be rowing Eva 1.5 miles from Hollywood Beach to Montrose Beach.  Organized as part of Tricia van Eck's curatorial vision for the EdgeUP Festival (, the journey will take us across the border of Edgewater and Uptown, creating a path by water that bridges the two communities. We plan on landing at Montrose Beach at 11 AM, and walking/biking/driving over to 6018 North to share mead, a meal and a short artist talk by myself and artists Judith Brotman and Philomena O'Halloran. If the conditions are poor (too windy, large swells, etcetera), we will have to cut the row short and meet you all at 1 PM at 6018 North, so please be advised. 

    Built with white oak and Chicago lumber sourced from Horigan's (urban arborists in Skokie, IL) and Rebuilding Exchange, Eva is a literal and metaphoric vehicle, with Chicago in her bones and Lake Michigan at her heart. In traditional maritime manner, I will christen Eva before we launch with mead I have been fermenting for the past 8 months. I hope to share the mead and the day's (hopefully) good weather with all of you. Over the past few months, all of you have lent an ear and an arm as I have built Eva, and I cannot thank you enough for you support, your words of encouragement, your blind faith in lending me your vehicles and your tools, and your incredibly generous helping hands. Her motto - solo mesoporos, roughly translating as "only half-way through the journey" - means I will hopefully get to take her out onto Lake Michigan with all of you next year. I look forward to many future conversations on the water and exciting projects to come.  

    Below is a curatorial statement from Tricia van Eck regarding EdgeUP:  
    EdgeUP celebrates Uptown and Edgewater as successful examples of the American melting pot. It spotlights these neighborhoods’ unique diversity of people, commercial, cultural, and culinary establishments. Through artistic interventions, encounters and exhibitions in public spaces, at the lakefront, in gardens, and on the streets, EdgeUP connects neighbors, artists, and groups to dynamically build community through art.

    Thank you and I hope to see you this Sunday!

    All my very best,
    Marissa Lee Benedict

  • DIY(Visits Chicago): Photographers and Books at Columbia College (September 18th, 2013)

    DIY(Visits Chicago): Photographers and Books

    September 18—December 7, 2013

    View the Exhibiton Brochure | Essay by Gregory Harris, Associate Curator, DePaul Art Museum

    Public Events

    The Center for Book and Paper Arts will mount a second iteration of an exhibition exploring print-on-demand photo books.  Originally curated by Barbara Tannenbaum for the Cleveland Museum of Art, DIY: Photographers and Books (2012) was the first museum show to focus on the impact of print-on-demand publishing on contemporary photographic practice. This is a juried exhibition focused on photobooks that move beyond the monograph. How do photographers engage the book form in ways that are experimentally visual and conceptual, while pushing the possibilities of print-on-demand publishing? 


    Steven Beckly, AT THE SAME TIME

    Exhibiting Artists
    Mali Anderson, Rosaire Appel, Steven Beckly, Roberly Bell, Marissa Lee Benedict, Sarah Benning, Sarah Bodman, Tom Burtonwood, Javier Carmona, R. Clarke- Davis, Joerg M. Colberg, Sylvia De Swaan, Dennis DeHart, Robert Drea, Boo Gilder, Regan Golden, Marcella Hackbardt, Julian Jason Haladyn, Brian Harmon, Steve Harp, James Hugunin, Ani Katz, Nick Kline, Lewis Koch, Jenna Lynch, Emily Martin, Scott McCarney, Paula McCartney, Charles Jeffrey Mintz, Lydia Moyer, Laura Noel, David Parker, Mimi Plumb, Susan Porteous, Jeff Rathermel, Tom Sowden, Valerio Spada, Max Stolkin, Lex Thompson, Mary Jo Toles, Everett Williams, Nanette Wylde & Kent Manske, and Philip Zimmermann. 

    Greg Harris, Associate Curator, DePaul Art Museum
    Karen Irvine, Curator & Associate Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography
    Jessica Cochran, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, Center for Book and Paper Arts
    Steve Woodall, Director, Center for Book and Paper Arts

  • Being a Woman in an All Woman Show @ Heaven Gallery (September 13th, 2013)

    Being a Woman in an All Woman Show @ Heaven Gallery (September 13th, 2013)

    "Fuller Fulcrum" installed at Heaven gallery's Being a Woman in an all Woman Show

    Being a Woman in an all Woman Show Heaven Gallery

    Opening Friday, September 13th, from 7PM - 11PM

    On view through Wednesday, December 31st

    Work by:

    Marissa Lee Benedict

    Soo Shin

    Sarah Weber

    Bea Fremderman

    Jessica Taylor Caponigro

    Laura Mackin

    Chelsea Culp

    Ann Chen

    Betsy O’Brien

    Meg Duguid

    Samantha Bittman

    Robin Kang

    Emily Green

    Caroline Carlsmith

    Kristina Paabus

    Chloe Seibert

    Selina Trepp

    Ilene Godofsky

    I have been accused of secretly wanting to be a man. This comment was made recently during a studio visit with a fellow artist, who saw how uncomfortable and wary I became as she steered our discussion towards gender politics.

    I do not harbor the desire to undergo a sex change, but I also do not want to be seen solely as a female artist. It is from this position of defensive resistance in which I find myself “being a woman in an all women show.”

    There are many ways to experience discrimination in the art world; gender inequality is just one of them. To be defined by one’s gender as a female artist is to be limited. A colleague recently brought to my attention the fact that the most reputable galleries here in Chicago all represent far more male artists than female. This inequality is made even worse when one realizes that our city’s art schools are enrolling more women than men. An admissions counselor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago informed me that women compose roughly 70% of its student body. A woman can be trained (and pay for that training) as an artist, but it is not the same as her becoming one. “Being a woman in an all women show” is an effort to make up for this blatant discrepancy.

    Not all artists consciously implicate their gender while making their work, and yet gender remains a determinant factor in how artworks are curated and disseminated. It seems unfortunate that an all-female exhibition is unusual enough to serve as a curatorial platform.

    With this exhibition, Heaven gallery is pleased to exhibit the work of eighteen artists, who all happen to be women. These are good artists, not good-for-being-female artists. With this exhibition, let us hope that the exceptional work of each artist is seen as expected, and not a surprise.
    Sarah Weber


  • "After A Time" in Newcity (September 5th, 2013)

    "After A Time" in Newcity (September 5th, 2013)

    AFTER A TIME: A Newcity Artist Project

    in collaboration with Sarah Belknap & Joseph Belknap

    LIFE magazine photo. Pictured (left to right): Joseph G. Cruz, Karsten Lund, Sarah Belknap, Joseph Belknap, Marissa Lee Benedict, Erin Washington. Photo credit: Josh Mather. 

    Officials of North American Aviation, Inc. study a replica of the moon shortly after the announcement that NASA had selected NAA as prime contractor for the Apollo command and service modules. Pictured (clockwise): Sarah Belknap, Marissa Lee Benedict, Joseph Belknap. Photo credit: Jeff Austin. 

    Astronauts who had been in training at the Johnson Space Center for almost a year are getting a sample of weightlessness. These flights are nicknamed the “vomit comet” because of the nausea that is often induced. Pictured (left to right): Sarah Belknap, Marissa Lee Benedict, Joseph Belknap, Jeff Austin. Photo credit: Jeff Austin. Special thanks to Claire Ashley 

    Boys show off their Christmas presents, which include astronaut suits and Space Hoppers. Pictured (left to right): Sarah Belknap, Marissa Lee Benedict, Joseph Belknap. Photo credit: Jeff Austin.

    Invited by Newcity to “hijack the newspaper,” Chicago-based artists Sarah Belknap, Joseph Belknap and Marissa Lee Benedict have inserted into this special issue a selection of photographic re-enactments, highlighting the contemporary fascination with space and space travel, and the growing number of Chicago-based artists and curators who are participating in this resurgent dialogue.

    With the rise of the internet, there has been an undeniable decline in the public’s appreciation of printed matter—a decline mirrored by the waning public interest in NASA’s space program, which has consequently received significant budget cuts in recent years, making the shift to privatized and corporate space travel an encroaching reality. As a widely distributed alternative arts and culture publication, Newcity is the perfect frame in which to re-present these iconic images from the 1960s and seventies: images that reawaken the shared imagination, energy and excitement propositioned by NASA’s golden era while still embodying the DIY energy of the now. 

    For the past six months the artists have been collaboratively creating their own archive of imagery, poetry, scientific findings and discoveries centered around the phenomena of outer space, and the wonder and curiosity it inspires. The original photos from this series of re-enactments, and other lunar research can be found at:

  • (August 27th, 2013)

    (August 27th, 2013)

    Conceal / Reveal: an exhibition of time-based work
    Saturday, August 17, 2013, 11:00am-4:00pm

    This exhibition is inspired by a 2011 article in the New York Times by Melissa Febos entitled “Look at Me, I’m Crying”, which describes the paradox of finding more privacy in public spaces through anonymity than in intimate spaces where we should be able to reveal our true selves. For this exhibition, Casa Duno showcases works that explore notions of private vs. public through the investigation of public space and spontaneous encounters.

    showcasing performances by

    Saul Aguirre and Enid Muñoz
    Jane Jerardi
    Sabri Reed and Marissa Lee Benedict
    Hoyun Son and Paul Richter
    Eileen Tull

    The exhibition will take place on the one square block from 11th to Roosevelt, and from State to Wabash.

  • Form Follows Function, off a short pier @ Home Gallery (July 20th, 2013)

    Form Follows Function off a short pier

    Artists Marissa Lee BenedictJohn Preus, and Kevin Reiswig have been commissioned to create specific items of furniture, structures, and/or modifications of existing things and spaces within and around the Nord/Shaeffer home. Each commission reflects both a practical and social wish, the fulfillment of which is tacitly bound up in the artistic process. The exhibition further explores home life as an arena that necessitates intervention and rupture from outside; domestic life is an incrementally self-imposed set of activities, habits, attitudes and rituals, born of archaic patterns, personal history; social life as an art form; the concept of home as the place most familiar, but founded upon the imaginary.


  • Bookbinding workshop @ threewalls (May 16th, 2013)

    Bookbinding workshop @ threewalls (May 16th, 2013)

    Bookbinding workshop at threewalls, Thursday May 16th, 6-9 PM (119 N Peoria)

    Utilizing the bookbinding station currently installed at threewalls as part of Marissa Lee Benedict’s solo exhibition (MULTIPLICES), the artist will host a bookbinding workshop free and open to the public from 6-9 PM on May 16th. Having written a text discussing her research process as she travels to five sets of sites in the Chicago metropolitan area, Benedict self-published 250 copies of a 160 page text titled MULTIPLICES that acts as a key to the sculptural assemblages occupying the gallery walls and floors. The bookbinding workshop will consist of demonstrations on the simple process of thermobinding, silk-screening and book trimming. Copies of MULTIPLICES will be available to bind, and are for sale. Attendees of the workshop are welcome to bring their own books (of any shape and size) to be thermobound on site.

    And stay tuned for a reading program on May 30 in conjunction with MULTIPLICES as well. 

    More information on Marissa Lee Benedict's exhibition at:


  • Multiplices (threwallSOLO) (April 30th, 2013)

    Multiplices (threwallSOLO) (April 30th, 2013)


    press release






    1. consisting of many elements in a complex relationship

    2. manifold; multiple.

    3. of, pertaining to, or using equipment permitting the simultaneous transmission of two or more trains of signals or messages over a single channel.


    1. a system or signal involving simultaneous transmission of several messages along a single channel of communication.

    2. (in map making) a stereoscopic device that makes it possible to view pairs of aerial photographs in three dimensions.

    3. a building containing a number of motion-picture theaters or, sometimes, a cluster of adjoining theaters on the same site.


    1. to send several messages or signals simultaneously, as by multiplex telegraphy.


    [from Latin: having many folds, from multi- + plicāre to fold]

                      pl.                   multiplices



    “How much of philosophical, scientific, and political thought is caught up with the idea of continuity? What if it were otherwise? … [if there was] a way of thinking with and through dis/continuity - a dis/orienting experience of the dis/jointedness of time and space, entanglements of here and there, now and then, that is, a ghostly sense of dis/continuity, a quantum dis/continuity... differentiations that cut together/apart - not separate consecutive activities, but a single event that is not one.”

    “Quantum Entanglements and Hauntological Realtions of Inheritance: Dis/continuities, SpaceTime Enfoldings, and Justice-to-Come”, Karen Barad (Derrida Today 3.2 (2010):240-268 Edinburgh University Press):



    As someone deeply curious about the way our world works – from the simple clarity of infinitesimally small micro reactions to the infinite complexity of macro interactions – Marissa Lee Benedict’s practice is deeply rooted in research and experimentation. Growing out of a four year investigation into algae - and its potential to transform our food, pharmaceutical, science, and fuel industries - MULTIPLICES is an exploration by Benedict into processes of thinking, making, researching, assembling, transforming: processes of making dis/connections.

    For MULTIPLICES, Benedict has collected algal samples from 5 sets of sites in the Chicago metropolitan area, taking these sites as a series of coordinates from which to draw spiraling connections between personal, social, material and theoretical histories. Installed in threewalls’ main space, MULTIPLICES pairs written text with sculptural objects; assemblages which put forward the experience of the exhibition as a multiplex, as a way in which messages and transmissions can be packaged together and sent simultaneously along a single telephone line. Building upon Deluze and Guttari’s proposition of the book as a space where “...there are lines of articulation or segmentarity, strata and territories; but also lines of flight, movements of deterritorialization and destratification”, Benedict encircles the gallery space with a single shelf – a ledge prepared to hold a multitude of “textbooks” which serve as a road maps for the sculptural assemblages occupying the gallery walls and floors. 

    Traveling to Wolf Lake, Belmont Harbor, the offices of SAIC/SAIC (the Art Institute and the sience/technology company), Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite/Dusable Park and threewalls itself, Benedict dis/connects these 5 sets of coordinates through a process similar to that of felting – of generating a nonwoven fabric through the multiple, random interlocking of spiral strands (fibers) under heat, friction and pressure. Utilizing this process of “felting” as a metaphor for describing the synthesis of a four year body of research, Benedict takes up the exhibition as a moment to embarks on a discussion of MULTIPLICES: of simultaneities and separations; iteration and reiteration; sampling and searching and researching; cutting apart and together; certainty and curiosity and uncertainty; chance and intention and proposition; moments of hope and failure; loss and transformation; everything and nothing.


  • BOLT Residency at Chicago Artists Coalition (March 24th, 2013)

    BOLT Residency at Chicago Artists Coalition (March 24th, 2013)

    New BOLT Residents Announced

    CAC is proud to announce the incoming 2013-14 BOLT Residents.

    Reut Avisar / Annette Barbier / Marissa Lee Benedict / Rashayla Marie Brown / Sabba Elahi / Kim Harty / Oliverio "Oli" Rodriguez &Jovencio de la Paz / Erik L. Peterson  

    BOLT Mentors: Jennifer Mills and Christopher Ottinger  

    Special thanks to our distinguished jury this year: Ellen Hartwell AldermanNatalia FerreyraHamza Walker and James Yood.  

  • Remodeling Home at Home Gallery (March 2nd, 2013)

    Remodeling Home at Home Gallery (March 2nd, 2013)

    Remodeling Home
    Opening Saturday, March 16th
    6:00 pm to 11:00 pm

    After two years of dormancy, Home gallery is being reopened!

    To celebrate its return, enliven its quietness and tend to its neglect, Laura Shaeffer and her family have decided to invite 15 Chicago-area artists to disrupt, displace, rearrange, harmonize, or otherwise intervene in the everyday rhythms, patterns and routines of their private family life.

    By giving their fragile space into the hands of resourceful and unconventional artists they hope for a utopic model to arise that can then be opened and shared with the public.

    Building on SHoP's former exhibit "This House is Not a Home" we continue to explore the concept of home "as a place and a mindset, a psycho-geography, a set of relationships with things and people, within the home, and surrounding the home, a stage set with social and material parameters, an idea that is perhaps never realized, a story that we tell ourselves and others that is both documentary and fiction…" John Preus.

    *Artists include:

    * Alberto Aguilar * Kayce Bayer * Marissa Lee Benedict * Jim Duignan * Paul Durica * Mejay Gula * Rachel Herman * Samantha Hill * Chris Lin * Jorge R. Lucero * John Preus * Kevin Reiswig * Norman Teague * Hui-min Tsen * Hoyun Son *

    Featuring music by * Fluer De Lune * and other surprise
    musical guests!

    Apartment Therapy review

  • The Dig at Heaven Gallery (January 11th, 2013)

    The Dig at Heaven Gallery (January 11th, 2013)

    The Dig: Marissa Lee Benedict, Allison Rowe and Nina Barnett

    Marissa Lee Benedict
    Allison Rowe
    Nina Barnett

    In collaboration with ACRE Residency, this proposed exhibition, to be mounted at Heaven Gallery, combines individual research-based practices that explore varying manifestations of what it means to dig, excavate, and uncover. This exhibition will include three divergent projects from artists Nina Barnett, Marissa Lee Benedict, and Allison Rowe that explore the regional-cultural presence of the subterranean, the socioeconomic infrastructure surrounding sites of excavation, and the performative act of the dig. The projects presented by Benedict, Rowe, and Barnett each explore and complicate dual conceptions of the dig as a performative act and its application to the production and accumulation of cognitive and tangible stock. The primary and most literal conception of what it means to dig investigates the labor of unearthing natural resources and material data and its relation to a global economy that valorizes service and information industries. Meanwhile, a concurrent, metaphorical understanding of the term attends to the unearthing of immaterial resources by addressing the field of research-based practice at large, its inherent interdisciplinarity and its impact on the circulation of information within a global marketplace.

    opening reception January 11th, 7-11 PM

    Heaven Gallery 
    1550 North Milwaukee, 2nd floor 
    Chicago, Illinois 60622