Ben Cuevas: Fire Island Artist Residency Lecture Series
Cherry Grove Community House
Visual AIDS partnered with the Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR) for an artist talk by Ben Cuevas, who presented his work in conversation with Visual AIDS Programs Director Alex Fialho. The Visual AIDS/FIAR lecture series brings Visual AIDS Artist+ Members to share their experience with the Fire Island community and the Fire Island Residency artists at the Cherry Grove Community House through a partnership with the Arts Project of Cherry Grove.
Ben Cuevas writes: "With fiber as my fulcrum, I view knitting as a meditative practice, exploring and challenging the gendered constructs and physical limitations of craft. From the political to the metaphysical, my practice is steeped in queer feminist ideologies, with an awareness of the mind, body, and spirit. My work spans a wide range of disciplines including installation, sculpture, photography, performance, video and sound. Often incorporating several of these elements into any given piece, I make use of digital media as a means of documentation.
Identity directly influences my work. As a queer, male-bodied, HIV-positive artist, blood has a special significance to me, which my installation, Knit Veins: Fiber of Our Being, underscores. As I admire and hearken to David Wojnarowicz and Ron Athey, I want to challenge viewers’ fears of HIV and help revive the queer culture lost to AIDS and gentrification, as offered in my installation Ghosts of the Trucks of the West Side Highway.
As an alternate to my actual identity, I created a digital/corporeal alter ego, BenBot 5000, complete with a fictional career as an intergalactic recording artist from a parallel dimension (as apparent in my parodied Rolling Stone Q&A). This project enabled me to explore themes of the body, sexuality, and gender, within the ethereal landscape of the Internet.
My exploration of identity, pop, and the Internet carries through into my most recent work, The Tweetables Series: Knit Text in 140 Characters or Less, merging the contemporary language and aesthetics of social media with the anachronistic softness of knitting and yarn. Throughout its pluralities, I see my work as reflecting the condition of embodiment: exploring the intersections of the mind and body, what it means to have a body, to inhabit a body, to be a body incarnated in, and interacting with this world."
Ben Cuevas is a Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist, who’s perhaps best known for the complete human skeleton he knit while in residence at the Wassaic Project in 2010. Born in Riverside, CA in 1987, he received his BA from Hampshire College with a concentration in Mixed-Media Installation Art. Cuevas’ work has been exhibited in group and solo shows around the world, from Los Angeles, to New York, to Hong Kong, in galleries, museums, and private collections.
Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 3:00pm
Wednesday, August 8, 2018 from 6:30pm