Ben Kinsley’s projects have ranged from choreographing a neighborhood intervention into Google Street View, directing surprise theatrical performances inside the homes of strangers, organizing a paranormal concert series, staging a royal protest, investigating feline utopia, collecting put-down jokes from around the world, and planting a buried treasure in the streets of Mexico City (yet to be found).
He has exhibited internationally at venues such as: Queens Museum, NYC; Cleveland Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland; Bureau for Open Culture; Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh; Flux Space, Philadelphia; Katonah Museum of Art, NY; Green on Red Gallery, Dublin; Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Florence; La Galería de Comercio, Mexico City; Catalyst Arts, Belfast; and ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe.
Ben has been an artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts; Skaftfell Art Center, Iceland; Askeaton Contemporary Arts, Ireland; and Platform, Finland. His work has been featured on NPR, Associated Press, The Washington Post, Artforum.com, Wired.com, Rhizome.org, and Temporary Art Review, among others.
Kinsley is Assistant Professor of New Media/Time-Based Art in the Department of Visual & Performing Arts at UCCS.
Kinsley is also currently working on a project with his wife, Jessica Langley. The Yard is a project space and site for public art in their front yard in the Divine Redeemer neighborhood of Colorado Springs. In regards to the project, Kinsley states:
We thought it would be interesting to use the context of The Yard to bring voices from all over the world into communication with the local. But we really don’t have a set way we are doing things yet, and I imagine … the process will always be a bit spontaneous. We don’t have a real budget, nor a board of directors. It’s just Jessica and me making the decisions. And that’s what keeps it exciting for us.
Interview with GOCA Fall 2018 Intern Hannah Shelton:
Hannah Shelton: Have you participated in previous faculty exhibitions at UCCS, if so, how many?
Ben Kinsley: I joined the Visual Art faculty last Fall (2017), so this is my first faculty exhibition.
HS: Why do you think it is important to hold a faculty exhibition?
BK: While we interact frequently with our fellow colleagues and students, we don’t often have the opportunity to share our own work and research with one another. I am very much looking forward to seeing what the other VA faculty have been working on in their studios, and I’m excited to be able to share new work with my UCCS community.
HS: What type of impact to you believe it has on campus?
BK: The Visual Art Department is splintered between several buildings around campus, which means that we don’t have a big visual presence on campus. The the new Ent Center has made this happen quite well for Theatre & Dance, and Music, as well as for Theatreworks and GOCA, however the Visual Art Department still does not have a central hub where someone can go to see what’s going on in VA. Having a faculty show at GOCA for an entire semester will give our program and our faculty some much needed visibility on campus. It is especially great to have this happen within the context of the new Ent Center for the Arts.
HS: The theme for this exhibition is time. How do you see this theme connecting to your work?
BK: With the work I am developing for this show, I’ve been thinking a lot about slow time. Slowing down the way we move through the world, the way consume and experience things, and placing more value on long-term thinking. I am an amateur mycologist and I spend a lot time foraging for mushrooms. This requires deep observation and attentiveness to the landscape, and it has changed the way I interact with nature. Hiking to the top of a mountain is nearly impossible for me now, as I get lost for hours at the trailhead finding all sorts of fascinating fungal life hidden in plain sight. Studying mushrooms is a great way to shift one’s focus, to slow down, pay attention, and be present. Many people aren’t aware that John Cage (the composer) was also a renowned mycologist. I see a direct relationship between Cage’s ideas of “silence” and his interest in mushrooms. Both offer a formal opportunity to observe the often ignored but deeply meaningful happenings of the world around us. With all this in mind, I am developing new work for the faculty show inspired by mushrooms, deep listening, and John Cage (the mycologist).
HS: As an artist, what advice have you received that has proved to have a large impact on you or your work?
BK: To never give up. Working in the visual arts can be a challenging path, and it might (probably will) take years to gain a foothold. It is helpful to remember that there are many ways to be an artist in the world, not all of which involve being a commercially successful studio artist in New York or Los Angeles.
Experience the work of Ben Kinsley and his fellow UCCS VAPA Faculty at TIME at GOCA Ent Center for the Arts (5225 N Nevada Ave) starting January 31st and running through May 12th.
Ben Kinsley will give a free artist talk on April 5th along with exhibition artists Carol Dass, Jessica Langley, and Stacy Platt. Register HERE.