Simone Leigh

Large-scale artworks celebrating Black women, their history and their stories

by Dolores O'Donoghue
Words Dolores O’Donoghue

Simone Leigh, one of the most gifted and respected artists of her generation, made history as the first Black woman to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale, 2022. 

The works were commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (ICA), and are on view at the ICA until 4 September 2023. The exhibition goes on tour to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC (November 2023–March 2024), and then to a joint presentation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and California African American Museum (CAAM), where it will be on view from June 2024 to January 2025. The exhibit includes over forty key examples of the artist’s ceramics, bronzes, videos and installations, covering almost twenty years of highly disciplined production.

Leigh’s art addresses a wide range of historical periods, geographies and traditions, with specific references to vernacular architecture and hand-made processes from across the African diaspora, as well as forms traditionally associated with African art and ritual. 

Jug, 2022. Glazed stoneware, 158 × 103.5 × 116.2 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery.  Photo by Timothy Schenck.

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