Cauleen Smith Alters Reality in MASS MoCA and Artpace Exhibitions

School of Art faculty member Cauleen Smith’s work is on view in two concurrently running exhibitions, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, and Artpace in San Antonio.

At MASS MoCA, Smith presents We Already Have What We Need, billed as her most comprehensive exhibition to date. The exhibition spans the entirety of the first floor galleries, and features an immersive installation comprised of Smith’s films made over the last decade. Also present are new textiles, paper works, a written manifesto and a selection of banners from her In the Wake series, which generated considerable buzz at the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

Smith’s works are also on view at Contingent Habitat at Artpace. The exhibition “unfurls for the viewer gradually, inviting them to move throughout the space and consider every object, image, and intervention with the same intentionality she employs throughout [Smith’s] process.” Rather than mirror reality, the artist’s array of objects, video montages and neon installations resolutely defy it. Smith recently concluded a stint at Artpace as a Fall 2019 artist-in-residence.

Smith is an interdisciplinary filmmaker and multimedia artist whose work draws on elements of Afrofuturism, sci-fi and mid-20th century experimental film. A May 2019 Artforum profile characterizes Smith and her work: 

… In the Black vanguard—the Afrofuturists and community activists, the artists and writers and theorists imagining ways of living that dignify themselves as Black subjects as well as all of humanity—she is something of a heroine for the breadth and generosity of her work.

She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a 2008 Jury Award for Best Film from the New Orleans Human Rights Film Festival, a 2010 Director’s Grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, a 2012 Artist Award from the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture and a 2015 Chicago Expo Artadia Award. Earlier this year, her independent cult classic film Drylongso (1998) was included in the program at the 72nd Locarno Film Festival.

Event Details

Cauleen Smith

We Already Have What We Need
Sunday, May 26, 2019 – April 2020
1040 Mass MoCA Way
North Adams, MA 01247

Contingent Habitat
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 – Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020
445 North Main Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78205

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