Hunter Alumni and Brothers Ezra & Noah Benus Co-Curate Visual AIDS’ April Web Gallery
Ezra Benus (Class of ’16) and Noah Benus (Class of ’19) are chronically ill and disabled brothers who founded Brothers Sick, a sibling artistic collaboration on disability justice, illness, and care. They co-curated the April Web Gallery for Visual AIDS. An Army of the Sick Can’t Be Defeated: Reflections on Care Work in Perpetual Sick Times offers an “opportunity to reconnect with each other with care in this intense moment of communal anguish and confusion due to COVID-19.”
Noah on the artistic collaboration with his brother:
“Ezra and I share a lot of similar experiences in terms of our illnesses and care practices, so we grew up familiarizing ourselves with a shared aesthetic and language around disease and disability. Beyond collaborating on “Army of the Sick” as “The Brothers Sick,” Ezra is generous enough to hand-me-down academic and artistic resources that I’ve used to learn and reflect on in my own practice as an artist and educator.”
Ezra is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and curator who majored in Jewish Art and Jewish Studies.
He addresses a range of themes in his work, such as time, care, pain, and illness/health, by drawing on his background and experience in Jewish studies, art history, and embodiment of disability. Benus engages the Self as a site where social, political, and spiritual forces collide through tapping into bodily knowledge and social constructions around values of normativity.
He has presented works at The 8th Floor, Flux Factory, NYU Gallatin Galleries, Dedalus Foundation, Gibney Dance, and most recently at The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery at the JCC Manhattan. He has lectured and consulted at universities and art spaces such as Red Bull Arts in Detroit, Hunter College Art Galleries, Eyebeam, SUNY Purchase, CUE Art Foundation, York College, and Princeton University. Benus was an Erich Fromm Fellow at Paideia Institute in Stockholm and the first Access and Adult Learning Fellow in the education department at the Brooklyn Museum.
“Through various photography projects I’ve witnessed how central the relationships are between the camera and subject, analogous to the relationship of artist and community – and in my case I was initially introduced to a supportive and driven network of other artists through The Photographers Collective at Hunter College. Other documentary projects of mine brought attention to the urgency of access, highlighting the plight of disabled folks on the MTA, and specifically to advocate that Hunter College repair the elevators (the elevators are still in disrepair since 2018) bringing to the forefront the needs of disabled [and all] students, faculty, and staff. Most recently, I am assisting at Able Zine, a UK publication for, by, and of chronically ill and disabled people. In addition to working at various NYC cultural institutions integrating art into virtual curricula, I plan to continue my education next fall at CCNY in the MA Visual Art Education program.”