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James Benning, after Thoreau, 2014, serigraph, oil-based ink on paper, 31 × 25". Installation view, 2015.

James Benning

Marfa Book Company

James Benning, after Thoreau, 2014, serigraph, oil-based ink on paper, 31 × 25". Installation view, 2015.

In keeping with one of the primary tenets of his formally rigorous filmmaking, James Benning’s exhibition “Thirty-one Friends” observed a strict framework, in which thirty-one unique works were dedicated to thirty-one friends and gifted to them at the close of the exhibition. Friend was here defined by a multitude of affections, ranging from professional esteem to paternal love: Old flames mingled with blossoming romantic interests, artistic admiration with gratitude, in seemingly inexhaustible and shifting combinations that characterize the dance of intimacy. In and of itself, the list of dedicatories read as an index of various degrees of proximity. Erstwhile partner Rhonda Bell; daughter Sadie Benning; Berlin gallerist Maia Gianakos; writer Rachel Kushner; celebrated filmmakers Harun Farocki and Richard Linklater; established artists Sharon Lockhart, Julie Ault, and Danh Vo;

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