Scott Benzel

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Scott Benzel
Scott Benzel - Inversion I after Dennis Wilson
Scott Benzel- Inversion I for Dennis Wilson, 2009
Born 1968 (1968)
Scottsdale, Arizona
Nationality American
Education University of Arizona, BA 1995, California Institute of the Arts, M.F.A, 2001
Known for contemporary art, sculpture, photography, and video art.

Scott Benzel (born 1968 in Scottsdale, Arizona, lives and works in Los Angeles), is an American visual artist, composer, and producer.


Benzel was born in Scottsdale, Arizona and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He graduated from the University of Arizona after undergraduate work at California Institute of the Arts. In 1998, Benzel returned to California Institute of the Arts and received his MFA in 2001.


Interested in the contradictions inherent in mythologized cultural histories, Benzel's work shows an ongoing fascination with the disjuncture between embodiments of popular culture - from the classical music score to photographic ephemera - and their accumulated meanings. Undertaking research into the genealogy of seminal pop music and cultural moments, Benzel’s interventions such as turning a pop musical score upside down to be played by a classically trained quartet and pressing the resulting recording to a lacquer which degrades upon play (Inversion I after Dennis Wilson) explore the processes and contradictions of mass media systems of production alongside the development of collective cultural imaginations and identification.


Benzel's visual and sound-based artwork has been shown at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, The Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis,[1] The Bard Center for Curatorial Studies,[2] The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (in collaboration with Sam Durant and Tom Recchion), Performa 09, New York (in collaboration with Mike Kelley) [3] LAXART, Los Angeles, Maccarone, New York,[4] Various Small Fires, Los Angeles,[5] Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, Human Resources, Los Angeles, The Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA, The Western Front, Vancouver, BC, Mandrake, Los Angeles, and Art Basel: Statements (in collaboration with Andrea Bowers). He has collaborated with Mike Kelley on the soundtracks to Kelley’s installations Day is Done at Gagosian, New York, Profondeurs Vertes at the Louvre, Paris, and Kelley and Michael Smith’s A Voyage of Growth and Discovery at the Sculpture Center, New York and West of Rome, Los Angeles.

In 2012, Benzel was selected for in inclusion in the first Los Angeles biennial, Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum[6] and the Venice Beach Biennial (in collaboration with Mark Hagen). His 2011 solo show Maldistribution at Human Resources, Los Angeles, was selected by Artforum and Frieze magazines in their year-end Best of 2011 lists.[7][8]

Musical Work[edit]

In 2012 and 2014, Benzel collaborated with Kathryn Andrews on the large scale musical performances Opus I for Crude Instruments in Marfa, TX and Split Chorale for Viljo Revell in Toronto City Hall, Toronto, ON. In 2012, Benzel collaborated with Mark Hagen on Bass Elegy / Devil's Night (for M.K.) at LA><ART in Los Angeles.

In 2012 Benzel curated (in conjunction with SASSAS) Welcome Inn Time Machine, part of the Pacific Standard TIme Performance Festival[9][10] and Tape Music: .sound at the Schindler House.[11] Both shows presented historical and contemporary experimental musical works in unusual settings.

Musical projects have included Machines of Loving Grace (of which he was frontman and primary songwriter), and Destroy All Monsters, the band led by American artist Mike Kelley.

In 2009, Benzel released Blak Bloc, a composition for string quartet and guitar feedback and synthesizer, chosen by Artforum magazine as a Best of 2009: Music.[12]

In addition to work with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Lucinda Williams, Boss Hog, Destroy All Monsters, The Red Krayola, and various others, Benzel has produced albums for Fat Possum Records, Plug Research in Los Angeles and for Par Avion.[13]

In addition to his own visual and musical composition, Benzel began producing and remixing for other artists, often working with co-producer Jim Waters (Sonic Youth, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion).[14]


External links[edit]

  • [1] Artist's Website
  • [2] Scott Benzel Tumblr
  • [3] Artinfo/Modern Painters Feature 2015
  • [4] Flash Art Maccarone 2014 Review
  • [5] Art in America Maccarone 2014 Review
  • [6] ArtReview Review 2011
  • [7] Artforum Review 2011
  • Scott Benzel on IMDb
  • [8] with Mike Kelley
  • [9] Numero Deux Recordings
  • [10] Technoscience and the Avant-Garde, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Vol.1 Number 1, 2002