Gretchen Bender (1951- 2004) was an American artist who worked in video, sculpture, photography, print and installation. She received her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973, and came to prominence in the 1980s as a post-appropriation artist in the East Village. Bender showed at Nature Morte, Metro Pictures and International with Monument in New York, and Meyer/Bloom in Los Angeles. Her work was included in the historical show Infotainment in 1985 and has circulated widely in exhibitions at the New Museum; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Whitney Museum of American Art; Hammer Museum; Tate Liverpool; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin;, among others. In 2013, Gretchen Bender: Tracking the Thrill traveled from The Poor Farm in Wisconsin to The Kitchen in New York, effectively reintroducing Bender’s “electronic theater” piece Total Recall to the art world at large. Her work appears in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, The Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, and the Menil Collection. Bender was the recipient of a New Genres Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1985, a Bessie Award in 1995 for her visual concept and set design for Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company’s Still/Here at BAM, an Anonymous Was A Woman award in 1997, and Art Matters Foundation fellowships in 1987 and 1997.
Photo: Hans Neleman © 1986. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York