"Newfoundland (Green Boat)," c. 2006, by Richard Benson (American, 1943–2017). Multiple impression pigment print, image: 11 9/16 × 17 3/8 inches.; sheet: 12 15/16 × 19 inches. © Estate of Richard M. A. Benson. Collection of Barbara Benson. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2021.
"Newfoundland (Green Boat)," c. 2006
by Richard Benson (American, 1943–2017)
Multiple impression pigment print, image: 11 9/16 × 17 3/8 inches.; sheet: 12 15/16 × 19 inches.

© Estate of Richard M. A. Benson. Collection of Barbara Benson. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2021.

Richard Benson: The World Is Smarter Than You Are

February 5 - May 7, 2023

“Go out into the world with the camera and photograph and find out that the world is smarter than you are.”

With this exhortation, delivered many times, Richard Benson (1943–2017) encouraged his students to explore one of photography’s core functions: recording things and events in the world. He wanted them to step out of their own mindsets and grapple with the many challenges—material, physical, and conceptual—encountered when making anything. It is precisely how Benson approached his own art.
This exhibition surveys nearly fifty years of Benson’s photography, a wide-ranging body of work that reflects his humility and boundless curiosity about the world and his tireless exploration of how to make photographs. In addition, the exhibition includes a selection of artworks by ten artists who studied and worked with Benson at Yale University, where he was a professor and later Dean of the Art School. These works illustrate Benson’s impact on generations of photographers by examining points of overlap and difference between his works and those of diverse artists he influenced.
Richard Benson: The World Is Smarter Than You Are was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The exhibition was made possible thanks to the promised gift to the Philadelphia Museum of Art from Elizabeth and William M. Kahane of a collection of 180 works by Richard Benson.

Support for the accompanying publication was provided by Lynne and Harold Honickman, Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, Barbara M. Benson, Randi and Bob Fisher, Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, Elizabeth and William M. Kahane, and an anonymous donor.

The exhibition was curated by Peter Barberie, Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, Philadelphia Museum Art.
Philadelphia Museum of Art

This exhibition is made possible, in part, with generous support from:

Platinum Sponsors

Shari and John Hicks

Silver Sponsors

Carole Crosby and Larry Wickless
Wil and Sally Hergenrader Endowed Fund for Special Exhibitions
Keith Monda and Veronica Brady

Tourist Development Tax Logo

Happenings

"Newfoundland (Green Boat)," c. 2006
by Richard Benson (American, 1943–2017)
Multiple impression pigment print, image: 11 9/16 × 17 3/8 inches.; sheet: 12 15/16 × 19 inches.

© Estate of Richard M. A. Benson. Collection of Barbara Benson. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2021.

CURATOR TALK

Peter Barberie

Saturday, February 4, 2023
10 am
Sarasota High School Alumni Auditorium

Free for Members; $20 Not-Yet Members

Exhibition curator, Peter Barberie, will discuss the life and work of Richard Benson, an extraordinary photographer, master printer, and mentor who helped shape many of the greatest photography books of the past fifty years.

Barberie, the Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, originated the first major survey of Benson’s photography and edited the book that accompanies the exhibition, a volume which features works from the exhibition and comparative illustrations from several of the photography books Benson helped produce in his career.

This program is made possible, in part, with generous support from:
Dr. Eloise A. Werlin Endowed Fund