Simone Leigh, Sculptor with a Focus on ‘Black Female Subjectivity,’ Heads to Hauser & Wirth

Simone Leigh, Sculptor with a Focus on ‘Black Female Subjectivity,’ Heads to Hauser & Wirth

As the world’s biggest galleries have added artists to their rosters at an accelerating pace, Hauser & Wirth—an operation with spaces in eight cities around the globe, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Zurich, and Hong Kong, as well as another planned location on the island of Menorca off the coast of Spain—has been more than a little active. This past week alone, ARTnews reported that the gallery added two artists to its slate—Henry Taylor and George Condo. Now there is a third.

Simone Leigh, one of the most in-demand sculptors working today, has joined the roster of Hauser & Wirth, a representative for the gallery confirmed. Her change in representation comes after a momentous past year that included a solo exhibition in the wake of her winning the Hugo Boss Prize (a $100,000 award facilitated by the Guggenheim Museum that ranks among the world’s top art prizes) and a coveted appearance in the Whitney Biennial that resulted in her work being acquired by the Whitney Museum.

“We are delighted and honored to have started working with Simone at the end of last year,” Cristopher Canizares, a partner at Hauser & Wirth, said in a statement to ARTnews. “Hers is a powerful, profound, original voice, and we are looking forward to her first exhibition with the gallery in London in the fall during Frieze.”

Leigh had long worked with Luhring Augustine gallery in New York, which will no longer represent the New York–based artist. (Roland Augustine, a cofounder of the gallery, declined to comment.) Through her new arrangement, Leigh will also no longer be represented by David Kordansky gallery in Los Angeles, which had just added her to its slate in June of last year. A representative for David Kordansky, while declining to comment further, confirmed that the gallery was no longer working with Leigh but will continue with plans for a solo show for her there in March.

Leigh has often said that her work is focused on “Black female subjectivity,” with an interest in complex interplays between various strands of history. Relying on architectural styles derived from African structures and mining objects such as cowrie shells and tobacco leaves for symbolic and political meaning, Leigh’s sculptures often allude to political happenings throughout the ages, from the incarceration of the activist Debbie Africa to the operation of a women’s health clinic that made Josephine English the first Black woman to run a private practice in New York. Leigh has also created films and social-practice works, and the High Line recently put on view a newly commissioned piece: Brick House, which measures 16 feet tall and looks out over the raised outdoor park in New York.

Not counting Leigh, Hauser & Wirth has added more than 10 artists and estates to its roster since the start of 2019. The latest additions include Ed Clark, Nicole Eisenman, Glenn Ligon, and Nicolas Party.


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