Paul Stephen Benjamin’s work is usually described as a meditation on the sound of blackness and for good reason; the artist has teased out individual strands from a collective notion of the color black in a dedicated, evolving practice. At his show at Marianne Boesky gallery this January, the floors are embedded with black lights, as are the ceilings, an effect that turns each viewer’s mouth a vivid hotbed of glowing teeth and creates a halo of mysterious ghostly fibers on our mandatory black winter coats. A near total survey of every shade of black produced by paint manufactures in the last decade amid audio monuments of stacked televisions walks us through a deconstruction of the concept of black through waves of light to waves of sound, to ask, what exactly is the sound of the color black? 

I could not find an interview with Benjamin that addressed the actual physical and physiological effects of sound or color in his work. During a trip to his Atlanta studio in February, I had a chance to ask him myself. 

Here’s a 3 minute excerpt, listen to the full audio at WMEA.NYC.

See more of Paul’s work here.

Paul Stephen Benjamin’s work in order of appearance:


[00:00:05] God Bless America
[00:00:20] Oh Say
[00:00:35] God Bless America
[00:02:05] Ceiling, 2017
Tempered glass
Dimensions variable
[00:04:15] Black is the Color, 2015
Three channel video, color, sound, loop
Total Runtime: 4:33 minutes
Dimensions: 120 x 120 inches 304.8 x 304.8 cm