Gavin Benjamin: Break Down and Let It All Out

Gavin Benjamin: Break Down and Let It All Out acknowledges the past, visualizes possibilities for the present, and, perhaps, gestures to a more equitable future.

This exhibition combines the installation of a domestic space owned by a fictional Black family for nearly 250 years with psychologically rich portraits of the Museum’s community. The setting is two paneled rooms, built around 1750 and designed by Swedish-Scottish architect Sir William Chambers RA, generously donated to the Museum by Mrs. Cordelia Scaife May and Mr. Richard M. Scaife in 1966.

Gavin Benjamin, born in Guyana, South America, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, is a Pittsburgh-based photographer and former Artist in Residence at The Westmoreland, who reimagines the genre and traditions of portraiture. Initially aiming to connect with the African American residents of Greensburg during his residency, the artist invited numerous community members historically underserved by institutions—recent immigrants, first-generation Americans, and people of color—to sit for portraits and imagine their place within the Museum.

Gavin Benjamin: Break Down and Let It All Out is the inaugural project of the Museum’s new contemporary series in its historic paneled rooms. It is organized by Jeremiah William McCarthy, Chief Curator, and Dr. Erica Nuckles, Director of Learning, Engagement, and Partnerships.

Learn more about the Artist-In-Residency Program Here.

This exhibition is generously supported by The Fine Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.