NEW/NOW Francisca Benítez

November 30, 2017–April 29, 2018

  • NEW/NOW Francisca Benítez

Francisca Benítez, América, Archival ink jet print,
30 x 24 inches, Courtesy of the artist

In her forthcoming exhibition at the NBMAA, New York-based artist Francisca Benítez (b. 1974, Santiago, Chile) will present new and existing works on paper and videos that trace her exploration of sign languages in the context of poetry, music, dance, and visual art. Held concurrent to the Bicentennial of the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in West Hartford, the oldest school for the Deaf in the United States and the birthplace of American Sign Language (ASL), the exhibition will engage collaboration not only with the ASD but with the Museum’s hearing and non-hearing community at large.

Throughout her career, Benítez has explored intersections between language, space, and politics through diverse media including drawing, photography, video, and performance. Although originally trained as an architect, Benítez has turned her attention increasingly to Deaf culture and sign languages in recent years—an endeavor inspired in part by her father, who became deaf as a child, and by Deaf communities’ struggles for the right to use their languages. Led by her interest in fostering encounters between Deaf and hearing communities within art spaces, she has utilized sign language as a visual form of communication, gesture, and performance in collaborative projects at institutions such as El Museo del Barrio, New York (2016), SITE Santa Fe and the New Mexico School for the Deaf, New Mexico (2016), The High Line, New York (2014), the Museo de Artes Visuales in Santiago, Chile (2013), and now the NBMAA.

NEW/NEW: Francisca Benítez is made possible by the generous support of Raul and Emilie de Brigard and the Howard Fromson Endowment for Emerging Artists. Additional funding was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Jorge A. Delano and the Mowell Family Fund.