Simone Leigh exhibition opens April 19 at Guggenheim

Simone Leigh, ‘100 (Face Jug Series)’ 2018, salt-fired stoneware, copyright Simone Leigh: courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York

NEW YORK – From April 19 to Aug. 4, an exhibition of new work by artist Simone Leigh, winner of the Hugo Boss Prize 2018, will be on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Leigh’s presentation will encompass a suite of sculptures and a sound installation, as well as a text by the renowned historian Saidiya Hartman that will be available as a broadsheet.

Selected by a jury of international critics and curators, Leigh is the 12th artist to receive the biennial prize, which was established in 1996 to recognize significant achievement in contemporary art.

Over the course of a career that spans the mediums of sculpture, video and social practice, Leigh has continuously and insistently centered the black female experience. Her sculptural forms, rendered in materials such as ceramic and bronze, unify a timeless beauty with valences that are both deeply personal and piercingly political. Summoning the ancient archetype of the female nude and inflecting it with vernacular and folk traditions, Leigh merges the human body with domestic vessels or architectural elements, evoking the immeasurable labors of care and protection that have historically fallen to women.

In The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat, the artist explores narratives of communal nurture, resilience and resistance. The title of the exhibition and related public program is drawn from the writings of Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897), a formerly enslaved abolitionist who pseudonymously published an account of her life. It refers to the grueling seven years she spent hiding from her master in a tiny crawl space beneath the rafters of her grandmother’s home—an act of astonishing fortitude that carved out a space of sanctuary and autonomy in defiance of an unjust reality.

In October Leigh was selected as the winner of the Hugo Boss Prize 2018 from a short list of six finalists that also included Bouchra Khalili, Teresa Margolles, Emeka Ogboh, Frances Stark and Wu Tsang.

Simone Leigh (b. 1967, Chicago) lives and works in Brooklyn.