Benjamin Murphy

Ph.D., 2021
Modern and Contemporary


Benjamin is a scholar of modern and contemporary art from Latin America, with a particular interest in the intersections between art, technology, new media, and systems of circulation. He received his PhD from the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton in May of 2021. He is currently at work on a book project, based on his doctoral dissertation, that investigates the emergence of video as an artistic medium during the 1970s among a diverse group of artists and institutions in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and in the United States. The project focuses on the close relationship between this new art form and contemporaneous developments within various branches of the social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, communication studies, and political science. Through this interdisciplinary perspective, the project argues that early Latin American video offers a critical view of how the geopolitical category of Latin America itself was institutionalized as an object of study during the 1970s.

Benjamin received his B.A. in Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis and his M.A., in art history, from Williams College. Before coming to Princeton, he served as a visiting curator at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, where he organized an exhibition on the Mexican video and performance artist Pola Weiss in 2014. Benjamin has published essays in the journal ARTMargins and with the Getty Research Institute, and he has presented his work at Harvard University, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Universidad Nacional de las Artes in Buenos Aires, and at the College Art Association’s 2020 Annual Conference. His research has been supported at Princeton by the Program in Latin American Studies, by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and by a Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship for Research Abroad in the Humanities. In 2019, he was the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant for Study and Research in Brazil.