Sharon Hayes

She // Her // Hers

[ID: Sharon, a middle-aged white queer woman with wavy brown and gray hair, stands in a gallery space in which an artwork is being installed. She is wearing a long shirt with wide black and red horizontal stripes and a camera strap diagonally across her chest. She looks at the camera and is smiling; her right hand is in her pocket, and her left forearm is behind her back.]

Multidisciplinary Artist
Philadelphia, PA
2021 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.

Sharon Hayes is an artist who uses video, performance, sound, and public sculpture to expose specific intersections between history, politics, and speech. Hayes is invested in unspooling reductive historical narratives to reignite dormant pathways through which counter-understandings of the contemporary political condition can be formed. In her work, she lingers in the grammars—linguistic, affective, and sonic—through which political resistance appears.

Her practice is in conversation—and acts in collective force and resonance with—the heterogeneous field of actions, voices, and practices that resist normative behaviors, complicit and unjust social agreements, and proscriptive temporalities to open up new ways of being together in the world. Her work sustains a distinct and vital commitment to performance and collaboration and is devoted to the radical possibilities of nonnormative occupation of public space and holding public space as a site for unpredictable and unregulated encounters.

She has had numerous solo exhibitions, including at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York (2014), Tanya Leighton Gallery in Berlin (2013), the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2012), and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (2012). Her work has also been exhibited at the Venice Biennale (2013) and at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in New York and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She is the recipient of many awards and grants, including a Pew Fellowship (2016), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2014), the Alpert Award in Visual Arts (2013), an Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2013), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (2007). Hayes currently teaches at the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.

Photo by Åsa Lundén; courtesy of Moderna Museet.

  • Artwork by Sharon Hayes
    If They Should Ask, 2017. Temporary monument, concrete cast pedestals, plexiglass cut lettering. Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.
    [ID: Photograph of a sculptural assemblage of nine monument pedestals without any statues on them sitting in front of a balustrade of a similar color in a city square in Philadelphia. A band of lettering at the base of the sculpture reads: "On this site there could be a statue to Jarena Lee, Sarah Allen, Notike..."]
  • Artwork by Sharon Hayes
    Time Passes, 2019. Collaboration with Brooke O'Harra. 8-hour performance. Neighborhood Theater, Philadelphia.
    [ID: A bright, brick-walled industrial space with an elaborate array of performers, stage hands, and equipment scattered around. An audience sits along the bottom of the image watching.]
Artwork by Sharon Hayes Artwork by Sharon Hayes