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Spotlight on Simone Leigh at African-American Museum


Beginning May 26 in Exposition Park

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the California African American Museum (CAAM) present “Simone Leigh,” the first comprehensive survey of this celebrated artist’s richly layered practice and her most expansive exhibition on the West Coast to date.

The exhibition, running May 26 through Jan. 20, 2025, will explore several key works throughout Leigh’s career. Leigh’s career includes pieces from the artist’s 2022 Venice Biennale project.  Leigh’s sculpture, video, and installation explore themes such as race, beauty, and community. 

Leigh's work has paid attention to the African diaspora and artistic traditions of Africa. Leigh also discusses the female body as a domestic vessel and architectural elements. Leigh is one of the most respected artists of her generation whose work has been featured in many prominent museums all throughout the United States. 

“We are thrilled to bring this historic exhibition to Los Angeles in collaboration with our colleagues at CAAM,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “Simone Leigh is such an important voice in contemporary art, and our collaboration with CAAM is a powerful way to bring her first major exhibition on the West Coast to the widest audience possible.”

Some of the pieces in the exhibition include "my dreams, my works must wait till after hell" "Kool-Aid", and “my dreams, my works must wait till after hell" was created in 2011 and is a collaboration between Leigh and Chitra Ganesh. It is a 14-minute film, and the title is a reference to the Gwendolyn Brooks poem, "my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell" in discussing agonies and challenges an artist encounters.

“Kool-Aid” was released in 2011/2023 and consists of multiple blown-glass, breast-like vessels filled with salt and illuminated by colored light. “Kool-Aid” refers to the manifesto used by AfriCOBRA, in Chicago from the 1960s Black Arts Movement. Political ideologies, visual elements, mimesis, repetition, symmetry, and color are used frequently in this work.