Laura Aguilar

Luis Alfaro

Don Bachardy

Ben Cuevas


Vaginal Davis

Tony De Carlo

Alison De La Cruz

Anthony Friedkin

Olga Garcia-Echeverria

Rudi Gerneich

Ken Gonzales-Day

Susan "Phranc" Gottlieb

Aurora Guerrero

Robert "Cyclona" Legorreta

Catherine Lord

Guglio "Gronk" Nicandro

Roy Rogers Oldenkamp

Monica Palacios

Antonio Rael

Julio Salgado

Terisa Siagatonu

Joey Terrill

Ryan Trecartin

Ben Cuevas

  • Artist Ben Cuevas
  • Cuevas' Art
  • Contributer J. Aces Lira

Ben Cuevas is an artist that transcends various mediums of expression which includes video, installations, photography, sculpture, and performance. In his work, Cuevas reflects the thoughts and conditions of our bodies as well as the interactions with the world around us. He received his Bachelor of Arts at Hampshire College and has had professional experience with Artists like Susan Robb, Edgar Arceneaux, and Kate Rhode. Having done a variety of art ranging between solo shows and collaborative work, he raises not only consciousness about social issues but the various dimensions they encompass as well. This multi-talented artist has also received commemoration for his artistic contributions like the Joe Liebling Grant for Film & Video Projects, Best of the Druid Underground Film Festival, and the Best Photography for Cinema at Los Angeles City College.

Cuevas has toured with and art gallery on the go, Install: WeHo, and brought awareness to an overlooked piece of gay history. In his truck installation, he incorporated sound and photography to give insight on what gay cruising was like during the 1970's. Invoking a sense of a dead subculture, Cuevas covered the speakers which gave off a phantom like sound that accompanied the photos of the past. The piece can resonate with the gay community, to those that wonder if gay subcultures have always been an online cult-like interaction. Install:WeHo is only one of various exhibits that Cuevas has been a part of, he has also presented in the ArtSlant Art Gallery and received 1st place for his Transcending Material piece. Having been a part of Testing Cultures, Knit Culture Studio, Pop tArt Gallery, and Planet Queer, Ben Cuevas proactively spreads consciousness about the dynamics of embodiment which leaves us with curiosity to experience his next art piece.

Artist Website: http://bencuevas.com/

Meditating on Salvation

After being encouraged to create a piece for Antebellum’s Easter themed exhibition, “Keeaster,” Cuevas created his Meditation on Salvation piece. Taking the original figure of Christ, Ben Cuevas then added his alterations and additions. In the process of meditation, there was an emphasis on the chakras of the body and gold dots were placed on the figure to represent them. Another alteration added to the religious figure was the leather harness around the upper body. The piece was then hung onto a black cross that was sewn.

Cuevas’ intentions were to really delve into Christian notions of Salvation in that it can only be achieved by accepting Christ as your savior. First glances at the piece, assumptions that religion is constricting came to mind. Ben Cuevas had an upbringing as a Born Again Christian so his perception of what salvation meant was an all too narrow idea. With the notions of salvation being something achievable through religion, it leaves queer communities in conflict after being all too often being ostracized by some religious institutions. Cuevas himself has taken the notion of salvation of being interchangeable with the idea of transcendence since both deal with the concept of going beyond the material world.

Transcending the Material

This installment is consists of a life-size skeleton placed on a meditation lotus position. The figure is placed on top of a pile of cans and above the figure was a variety of photographs of the human outline were hung. So much was depicted from the very organizing, labeling, and creation of the installment and Ben Cuevas made a soft yet bold statement on human essence.

Transcending the Material is a very interesting piece that alludes to a lot of aspects of our material world. Running your fingers through the fabric of the skeleton figure, strong contrast can be made between the soothing warmth of the fabric along with sharpness and accuracy of the skeleton structure. The cans were also given purpose by serving as a stabilizing structure for the life-size figure. The condensed cans were a site-specific reference from a nearby factory that Cuevas was at during his residency in the town of Wassaic. The cans also be interpreted in various ways. With the skeleton being stabilized by the cans it speaks to our society being dependent on commercialization and productivity. This commercial process that is in place also continues to dehumanized large populations through sweatshops and labor exploitation. With so much power in the can, this aspect can also be seen as paying respects to Andy Warhol, another queer artist, and his work with Campbell’s cans. The floating material above the life-size skeleton had various images depicting outlines of Cuevas body. Strong detail was intertwined with the skeleton structure since each bone was roughly equated to Ben’s body. The transcending material installation really did form an emblem around and about our material culture and how our bodies are impacted by it.

Ghost of Trucks of the West Side Highway

This installation piece was inspired by the dead subculture of cruising from the 1970’s. Its vivid imagery of past recollections of what gay culture was like was brought to life with sounds of sex. Being a part of the Install:WeHo series, Ben also took advantage of the U-Haul setting to really give perspective of the New York cruising scene.

Cuevas brought the piece to life when he added the sex recording, which was recorded in the trucks prior to the exhibition. The ghost of the cruising past was also recognizable in that the sound recording of the piece was covered to give a phantom-like feel to the installation setting. He also placed black and white, blown-up photos, of gay men during the period that were cruising. The mix of photography and sound raised awareness to what gay culture was like before the AIDS epidemic in the 70’s and strongly contrasts to the online culture that exists now.


I'm a UCLA undergrad student double majoring in Chican@-Gender Studies and minoring in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Studies. Upon attaining my undergraduate degree, I plan on applying for a master’s program in student affairs to be able to counsel and provide resources to homeless queer youth.

Queer relations and advocacy is my life. Currently being the Media Intern for the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center I have become familiar with background knowledge on some of the resources that are allocated and offered to the LGBTQ community both on campus and in the greater LA area. I am also the External Vice Chair for La Familia de UCLA, which is an organization that caters both a safe and political space for motivated Chican@ Latin@ Queer Students and Allies on campus. As a student leader and an aspiring queer professional in the work force, I'm fully aware of the role that art has played in raising awareness about the Queer Movement.

In taking this course on Queer Arts in LA, my expectations were to build a greater understanding of the work that has originated and created change here and outside Los Angeles. Queer issues have been historically silenced but art has always been the medium where our voice resonated and I’m here to explore that.