Over the last twenty years Simone Leigh has created a multi-faceted body of work incorporating sculpture, video, and installation, all informed by her ongoing exploration of Black female-identified subjectivity. Leigh describes her work as auto-ethnographic, and her salt-glazed ceramic and bronze sculptures often employ forms traditionally associated with African art. Her performance-influenced installations create spaces where historical precedent and self-determination commingle. “I am charting a history of change and adaptation,” the artist has written, “through objects and gesture and the unstoppable forward movement of Black women.”
Simone Leigh was born in Chicago in 1967 and first began exhibiting her work in the early-2000s. She has had one-person museum exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Tate Gallery, London; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles among others. In 2014 she presented “The Free People’s Medical Clinic” in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, a project commissioned by Creative Time. Her work was included in the 2012 and 2019 Biennial exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and she is the first artist to be commissioned for the High Line Plinth; her monumental sculpture Brick House was unveiled in April 2019. Leigh’s exhibition “Simone Leigh: Sovereignty” is currently on view in the United States Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale. Her work is also included in the Biennale’s central exhibition, “The Milk of Dreams,” for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Participant.