go Gentle continues Benavente's recent exploration of the possibilities of non-narrative storytelling through the combination of neon and video. Benavente considers neon a time-based media, as it is a controlled phenomenological medium, both static and fleeting. Benavente developed go Gentle with the work's exhibition site in mind, recalling the glowing signs in bar windows. Rather than appeal to passerby's thirst, Benavente's work ambiguously reads, "go Gentle." This is a contraction of Dylan Thomas' poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.
Jesus Benavente's go Gentle references Dylan Thomas's poem, Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night. The White Horse Tavern, a famous haunt of Thomas', is located just around the corner from West 10th Window.
The poem and the neon text complement the accompanying video without providing descriptive context. The video slowly, patiently documents the sun setting behind the gravestone of Donald J. Schlaegel, someone whom Benavente describes as "very important to me, he lived the way he wanted to the very end." The cryptic relationship between the poetic language and video is not easily deciphered. Thomas' poem spoke to those like Schlaegel who fought and strove for what they wanted from life but, in this enigmatic work, a release from struggle, rather than a call to, feels more apt. Although intensely personal, this memento mori is a sphinx-like comment on life and its often frenetic pace.
The West 10th Street Window is curated by Natalie Diaz and Jennie Lamensdorf and is sponsored by the Time Equities Inc. (TEI) Art-in-Buildings Program. TEI is committed to enriching the experience of our properties through the Art-in-Buildings Program, an innovative approach that brings contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists to non-traditional exhibition spaces in the interest of promoting artists, expanding the audience for art, and creating a more interesting environment for our building occupants, residents, and their guests.