Simone Leigh
Multidisciplinary Artist
New York, NY
2019 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by David Horvitz and Francie Bishop Good.

Simone Leigh’s practice incorporates sculpture, video, and installation—all are informed by her ongoing exploration of black female subjectivity and ethnography. Her objects often employ materials and forms traditionally associated with African art and her performance-influenced installations create spaces where historical precedent and self-determination co-mingle.  Through her investigations of the visual overlaps between cultures, time periods, and geographies, she confronts and examines ideas of the female body, race, beauty, and community.

Leigh was born in 1967 in Chicago, IL. She is a recipient of the Hugo Boss Prize (2018), the Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant (2018), Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize (2017), John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2016), Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2016), Herb Alpert Award for Visual Art (2016), A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art (2016), and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2013). Recent projects and exhibitions include Trigger: Gender as a Tool and as a Weapon (2017) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Psychic Friends Network (2016) at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London; The Waiting Room (2016) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Free People’s Medical Clinic (2014), a project commissioned by Creative Time; inHarlem, a public installation presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park, New York; and a solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Leigh is the first artist to be commissioned for the High Line Plinth, where she will present a new monumental sculpture starting in April 2019.

Portrait photo by Paul Mpagi Sepuya.
  • Cupboard VIII, 2018. Stoneware, steel, raffia, Albany slip, 125 x 120 inches.
  • Figure with Skirt (Face Jug Series), 2018. Terracotta, graphite, salt-fired porcelain, steel, raffia, 79 1/2 x 70 x 70 inches.
  • Head with Cobalt, 2018. Salt-fired porcelain, 15 x 7 x 11 3/4 inches.
  • No Face (Pannier), 2018. Terracotta, graphite, salt-fired porcelain, steel, raffia, 72 5/8 x 75 x 58 inches.
  • The Village Series #3, 2018. Stoneware, 25 x 22 x 22 inches.