2022 Artists in Residence

Established in 1989, the Artists in Residence program is a core component of Chinati’s mission. It supports the growth and development of artists of diverse disciplines, ages, and backgrounds. This year, with the ever-increasing visibility of the program, we received a record number of applications from around the world. Thank you to all who applied. 

We are pleased to announce the 2022 Artists in Residence and look forward to their perspectives on Chinati’s art, architecture and land.


(born in San Antonio; lives in Brooklyn)

Jesus Benavente, I’m not Dancing, I’m Struggling to Survive, 2017

Jesus Benavente describes West Texas as the cultural crucible of Texas itself: “a place of shifting borders, stolen lands, lost hearts and found beauty…filled with displaced and replaced Latinx and indigenous people…the exiled and the finally free.” He points out that “chinati” is an indigenous word for a kind of gate and plans to double down on that meaning while here in Marfa, making the art he always considers a doorway or threshold. 

Benavente’s work is founded on performance and, with a performance persona named BENAVENTE, one might say he is his own medium of choice. He uses enticing humor and bilingual wordplay to almost trick people into approaching and breaching barriers of class and identity. A mariachi band performs for a museum audience under attack by the artist. A communal sculpture built from bricks sits precariously between labor, protest, and art. A virtual dance party, peppered with ambulance and police sirens, conflates euphoria and panic.

Jesus Benavente is, according to his bio, “an amazing and attractive visual artist.” He received his MFA from Rutgers University, a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin, and is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He comes to Chinati on the heels of a 2021-2022 Smack Mellon artist residency.


(born 1982 in Miami; lives in New York)

Mike Crane, from his series History in Hell, 2021

Mike Crane plans to conduct new research about the West Texas landscape for History in Hell, a multi-faceted project that he will use his time at Chinati to bring nearer to completion. Originally conceived while in residence at the Drawing Center in New York, the project will comprise 50 graphite drawings of documents from the artist’s personal archive. These range from guerrilla army pamphlets to rave party fliers to archeological catalogs. Beautifully rendered as if printed, the drawings form a collage compilation of concepts of hell.

Crane’s new project is both an evolution and departure from previous bodies of work using time-based media. Past projects have involved professionals enacting their areas of specialization in meta situations constructed by Crane. The staff of a Palestinian television station investigated private and public debt under military occupation in a teledrama co-produced by the artist. Consistent throughout his work is an interest in the documentary techniques and revolutionary politics of Third Cinema. He points to his own biography, having grown up in Bogotá while America’s War on Drugs fueled an ongoing civil war, as an almost uncomfortably close object of his current investigation. 

Mike Crane received his MFA from Hunter College University of New York and his BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art. He is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a 2020 Sachs Program for Arts Innovation fellow. He is a recipient of the 2015 Creative Capital visual arts grant for his work that was included in the Kienema program of documenta 14 (Athens). Crane’s most recent film, Cutting the Mushroom, premiered at the 2021 New York Film Festival.


(born 1974 in Philadelphia; lives in New York)

Sarah Crowner, Sliced Shapes, Blue Background, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York

Sarah Crowner anticipates spending time with Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works in mill aluminum in terms of her own focus on immersive forms of abstraction. The installation’s integration of sky and space, light and architecture, through reflective aluminum surfaces—and wide-open views to the land—strikes her as particularly generative when it comes to thinking about site.

Crowner is an abstract painter whose art leaps boldly from wall to floor, to stage, to swimming pool, to tabletop. Color is a material, literally, for her canvases that are composed of cutout shapes of hand-dyed fabric, seamlessly stitched together, then stretched on a frame. Crowner originally studied ceramics and has realized a number of architecturally-scaled projects using glazed tile as a painting medium. She approached an exhibition at Casa Franco, a house by Luis Barragán in Guadalajara, as an opportunity to be in dialogue with the Mexican modernist’s work. A vibrant conversation was carried from room to room by the tile floor that Crowner designed to hover over the original cement floor, and which she conceived as a painting that people could walk on. In a collaboration with the choreographer Jessica Lang, Crowner created sets and costumes for a new ballet Garden Blue—making a mise-en-scène of abstraction.

Sarah Crowner studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and received her MFA from Hunter College University of New York. A 2020 Rome Prize Fellow, she participated in the 57th Carnegie International (organized by Chinati’s curator, Ingrid Schaffner) and is currently preparing a solo exhibition with Museo Amparo in Puebla, Mexico, for 2022. 


(born 1988 in New York City; lives in Oakland, California, and Columbus, Ohio)

Dionne Lee, North 2019

Dionne Lee brings a question that abides within her art—”who is best positioned to survive?”—to the extreme environment of the high Chihuahuan desert and Chinati. She plans to explore the forces of erosion and extraction in order to see what is hidden, revealed, and taken from the land and to imagine through her search “the resilience we all work to channel.”

Working in photography, collage, video, and sculpture, Lee mines her personal history as a Black woman to dig at racial histories buried in the American soil and to reach for refuge. She sees in the proverbial majesty of the American landscape the traumas of colonialism and proposes, through her art, counter-narratives of the land. Her hands figure prominently. In one set of images, they point northwards in two directions, to the North Star (of freedom) and to the magnetic north (true north), as if to locate the gap on earth where true freedom can never be found. The making of her work also emphasizes the hand through the use of analog photography and darkroom techniques and through her handling of collage by ripping, tearing, and patching found and original images and swathes of colored paper. Manuals on wilderness survival—how to build shelter, forage, and find water—frequently appear as source material, linking a fugitive past and a discernible future with a sense of hope and preparedness.

Dionne Lee received her MFA from California College of the Arts, where she won the Barclay Simpson Award and Graduate Fellowship at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. In 2021, she was an Artist-in-Residence at Light Work in Syracuse, New York, and her work was included in Surface Tension, a collection show at the Museum of Modern Art.


(born 1960 in New Zealand; lives in New York)

David Watson (in collaboration with Phill Niblock), score for EXPL _Watson, 2020

A musician whose primary instrument is the bagpipes, David Watson is interested and inspired by Donald Judd’s predilection for pibroch, the classical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. As Watson notes: “The connections between pibroch and Judd’s work and interests—pattern, space, and variation are well known.” While at Chinati, Watson plans to compose and to connect sonically with the landscape through an instrument that is traditionally played outdoors. 

Watson is an experimental musician and composer. He has a longstanding commitment to interdisciplinary practices and to intelligent listening. Starting as a guitarist, he was integral to the noise music scene that centered on The Knitting Factory, the New York East Village nightclub, and gallery dedicated to the avant-garde. Watson began performing as a bagpipe player over 30 years ago, having been drawn to the potential of a droning instrument that struck him as inherently avant-garde. His own compositions are extended soundscapes that unfold as if in resistance to a melodic center. He described a recent recording with ten tracks each of guitar and bagpipe as a monument that doesn’t develop, a shimmering mass of slowly shifting pitches. 

David Watson has organized improvisational music festivals and marching pipe-band processions. As a presenter, he founded the series WOrK, to survey what experimental means today. He had performed and recorded extensively with Christian Marclay, Chris Mann, Ikue Mori, Phill Niblock, and Lee Renaldo. He has created scores for choreographers and artists, including Matthew Barney, Cindy Bernard, and Moriah Evans, and premiered a piece by Robert Ashley. This November he will perform three shows with favorite collaborators, including Yasunao Tone, at John Zorn’s venue The Stone.