Cara Benedetto’s text and performance-based works use language to confound communication and subvert power structures. Often, she will take up vernacular and structures from romance novels, fundraisers, and advertisements. She then shifts, mutates, and destabilizes these forms. For her participation in How to Remain Human, Benedetto produced Prelude Her patron, a private event at the Museum modeled on a traditional preview party with a soft S/m theme, complete with music, food, and performances by her students and frequent collaborators. The artist directed all aspects of the project, from designing the invitations and writing the press release, to providing special napkins and lip balm for guests. Rather than doing a disservice to the BDSM community with “a hack portrayal or tourism into their world,” Benedetto refers to the recent offence and fascination in S/m culture produced by the film 50 Shades of Grey. With this and other similar projects, she seeks “to draw a parallel to exploits in current academia, specific to the institution of MFA, where all art students are treated as masochists and contracts are unclear.” Prelude brings an element of vulnerability and the unknown into the Museum, asking staff, guests, artists, and the institution to question, explore, and feel the boundaries of their relations.
Cara Benedetto (1979, Wausau, WI), lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her BFA at University of Wisconsin River Falls in 2001 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2009. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, at venues including Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany (2014); Laurel Gitlen, NY (2014); Metro Pictures, NY (2013); and Night Gallery, LA (2013). Her performances and collaborations include Come Early and Often, A Benefit Event, Chapter NY, and Wing & Wing, in collaboration with Danna Vajda, Art Metropole, Toronto, ON (both 2014). She is a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation grant and has published both creative and critical works with various presses. She is Visiting Professor of art at the School of Art Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.