ALL: Master Collection List




Artist Dates


Title of Work

Prayer Rug


image preview

Date of Work



Woven postage stamps on paper

Edition #



Lower Right




22 1/4"


Art & Design Study Collection


On display: Second floor


Memorial Union

Artist Bio

Internationally acclaimed artist Barton Lidice Benes was known for addressing the AIDS epidemic through his work. He developed special ties to Grand Forks, ND when, in 1993, the North Dakota Museum of Art showed work that other galleries considered too controversial to show. Benes passed away in 2012, leaving the contents of his apartment as well as his cremated remains to the Museum to be installed as a permanent exhibition.

Additional Information

Student composed text panel:

Barton Lidice Benes (American, 1942-2012)
Prayer Rug, 2011
Woven postage stamps on paper
UND Art Collections: Art and Design Study Collection
Purchased with funds from the Myers Foundations.

After his 1986 diagnosis with AIDS, Barton Benes entered a dry spell when it came to art and inspiration. However, upon the death of his partner, Howard Meyer, he became inspired to create again. Using memories and stories from his life and the lives of his loved ones, he began making art that represented deeper meanings of the human experience.

This piece comes from the end of Benes’ life, when he was using his art to take back the power that AIDS took from him. The interwoven postage stamps and bright colors can be interpreted as a unification of difference cultures, times, and people. It should be noted that some of the stamps depict the confederate flag. This is a very controversial design decision. However, the inclusion of the flag, although representing a dark time in US history, enhances the message of taking power back from something that has been historically oppressive. The interwoven stamps of this piece represent how diverse and complicated history can be, and as the title implies, there is always room to come together and reflect.

Collage of different postage stamps arranged in rows.




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