This survey exhibition of Benish’s work in the public sphere covered a 30+ year span of projects and artworks in Hawai’i, Mexico, Los Angeles, Venice, Rio de Janiero, Sweden, Prague, and the Czech countryside. The exhibit was at the infamous MacroMolecular Chemistry Institute, fondly known as “Makrač”, a beautiful functionalist building in Prague, where dissidents traditionally exhibited their work during the totalitarian era. Professor Kurt Gebauer re-activated the space in the new millennium with his students from the Academy of Art, Design and Architecture. Benish's works were roughly divided into three categories: Public and Political Activity, (ArtWall, Dialogue Prague/Los Angeles, the Echo Park Project, Gallery Califia, Map ’n Sip); Environmental Education, (ArtMill Center for Sustainable Creativity, UN Safe Planet Campaign, the SS PaloAlto Project); and Indigenous Influences (Encuentro, Missionary Dress, El Arbor del Medio, Divestment, Liberty series, Nomad). While the lines overlap and cross-overs abound, all works add up to an art that is not separated from life, but committed to social and political change. Benish’s photo archive of her 1989 art-activist work will soon be available to the public at the permanent DOX museum archive in Prague (2015).
BARBARA BENISH: UMĚLEC JAKO AKTIVISTA / ARTIST AS ACTIVIST (1982 – 2015)
Vernisáž: 30. 3. 2015 v 18.00 hod. na vernisáži vystoupí: básník Josef Straka, zahraje Dekadent Fabrik
Kurátor výstavy: Matouš Karel Zavadil
30. 3. – 12. 4. 2015
Galerie Makráč / Makrokoule, Heyrovského nám. 2, Praha 6, Petřiny, konečná tram 1, 2, 18.
Mediální partneři: Rádio 1, Ateliér, H-aluze
Zavadil, Matouš Karel. "Barbara Benish: Umělec jako aktivista / Artist as Activist", interview in Atelier magazine, no. 8, April. pg. 5