Ben Kinmont

Born 1963 in Burlington, VT
Lives and Works in Sebastopol, CA

Since the late nineteenth century, avant-garde artists have largely been dedicated to breaking down the barriers between art and everyday life, and have argued that there are no limits to what can be called art. Artist Ben Kinmont disagrees with this premise, arguing that art “is not invited everywhere” and that it can be destructive or unethical to represent conversations that take place in the domestic realm. 

Kinmont’s interactive Sshhh project explores what it might mean to ethically introduce the private into the public space of the museum, and visa versa. The artist invites Biennial visitors to send him a note containing their name and the date—but not the content—of a conversation they have had at home. For the first hundred notes he receives, he will make two letterpress conversation sheets. One will go on view in the Biennial alongside materials from the archive’s first iteration, which was produced in Chatou, France. The other will be sent to Kinmont’s correspondents as an aide-mémoire for a conversation once had.

On View
Fourth Floor 

Ben Kinmont’s work is on view in the Museum’s fourth floor galleries. PDF files from the Sshhh archive (2002–present) can be downloaded below.


The following inventory list describes the objects in the Sshhh archive, a project by Ben Kinmont included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Over the course of the exhibition, the inventory will continue to grow in the Museum galleries as visitors take part in the project's reactivation.

Each item in Kinmont's archives is assigned a number that follows a cataloging system. For example, in the current archive there is a document numbered This means that the object is from his 22nd art project to have an archive, that the project was begun in 2002, the item was added in 2014, and that it is the 90th object in that archive. When there is a fifth, hyphenated number, this indicates that the object is comprised of multiple parts.

All materials are free to download.

© Ben Kinmont, 2013. All rights reserved.