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Frank Benson: Human Statue Series (Sky Room)


Human Statue Series (Sky Room)
Cover Image:

Photo: Charlie Rubin

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Frank Benson
Human Statue Series (Sky Room), 2005–18
Dye sublimation print on aluminum
24 × 30 inches (unframed)
25 × 31 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)
Signed and numbered on verso
Edition of 20
Published by Lisa Ivorian-Jones for the New Museum

Frank Benson (b. 1976, Virginia, USA) has created Human Statue Series (Sky Room), a stunning new dye sublimation print exclusively for the New Museum. Each print is on an aluminum substrate and presented in a welded aluminum frame custom designed by the artist.

Working in sculpture and photography (and often at the fore of advancing digital media technologies), Benson’s practice centers on concepts of arrested movement and the use of digital tools in the creation of sculpture. Increasingly, Benson has employed digital technology in the production of his works—for example, the translation of photographs of humans into meticulously crafted “wireframe” virtual models and 3-D prints. These models, which are based on members of Benson’s own circle of artists and creatives, serve as the basis for hyperreal and minutely finished statues featured in Human Statue Series (Sky Room).

Human Statue Series (Sky Room) depicts Benson’s Human Statues gathered together for the first time in a virtual recreation of the New Museum’s iconic Sky Room. Created over the past fifteen years, the figures are arranged in chronological order from left to right. The Human Statues series begins with Human Statue (2005), a sculpture of a living statue performer in stunning detail, which was first made using a painstaking life-casting process. This lifelike fiberglass sculpture was later scanned and imported into a 3D modeling program to be rendered along with the artist’s other figurative sculptures. Human Statue (Jessie) (2011), the second in the series, is a portrait of artist and dancer Jessie Gold, and was Benson’s first sculpture made using the digital 3-D sculpting tools that would become a central part of his process. The third in the series, Juliana (2015) is a portrait of artist, poet and DJ Juliana Huxtable, created for the 2015 New Museum’s “Triennial: Surround Audience.” The fourth sculpture, located in the bottom right of the image, is Benson’s latest work, Castaway (2019), a bronze sculpture of a man marooned on an island. Illuminating the scene of Human Statue Series (SkyRoom) is a raking light, which was created using a rendering engine that simulates the morning sun as it would stream through the Sky Room’s southeast windows. The serrated edge of the shadow that cuts diagonally across the backdrop is cast by the expanded metal cladding that covers the exterior of the New Museum. Human Statue Series (Sky Room) (2005–18) reflects Benson’s longstanding interest in the possible mergers of photography and digital sculpture while paying homage to his history and connection with the Museum, where Juliana (2015) was first shown.

Pictured from left to right:
Human Statue, 2005
Human Statue (Jessie), 2011
Juliana, 2015
Castaway, 2018

Frank Benson (b. 1976, Norfolk, Virginia) graduated from the Maryland College of Art, Baltimore, in 1998, and received a MFA in Sculpture from the University of California Los Angeles in 2003. Benson lives and works in Brooklyn. His work has been included in major group exhibitions, including “Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body,” The Met Breuer, New York, 2018; “Art in the Age of the Internet: 1989 to Today,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2018; and “Triennial: Surround Audience,” New Museum, New York, 2015. He is represented by Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York and Sadie Coles HQ in London.

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