Over the past two decades, Simone Leigh has created artwork that situates questions of Black femme-identified subjectivity at the center of contemporary art discourse. Her sculpture, video, installation and social practice explore ideas of race, beauty and community in visual and material culture. Leigh’s art addresses a wide swath of historical periods, geographies and traditions, with specific references to materials across the African diaspora, as well as forms traditionally associated with African art and architecture.This publication includes substantial new scholarship addressing Leigh’s work across mediums and topics. The volume, timed with the artist’s first museum survey and national tour, includes contributions by her longtime collaborators, new scholars who add diverse insights and perspectives, and a conversation highlighting Leigh’s voice. Additionally, generous and lushly illustrated plates feature her critically acclaimed work for the 59th Venice Biennale and works made throughout her 20-year career. A special section featuring Leigh’s research images gives access to Leigh’s research methodologies and encourages readers to fully engage with all aspects of Leigh’s work. This monograph provides a timely opportunity to gain a holistic understanding of the complex and profoundly moving work of this groundbreaking artist.
Born in Chicago in 1967, Simone Leigh received a BA in fine art with a minor in philosophy from Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, in 1990. In 2022, Leigh represented the United States at the 59th Venice Biennale with her critically acclaimed exhibition Sovereignty. She has had solo presentations at the Kitchen, New York (2012); Creative Time, New York (2014); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); and the High Line, New York (2019); among other venues. Leigh lives and works in Brooklyn.