ANDERSON RANCH CELEBRATES ARTIST SIMONE LEIGH, WHOSE SCULPTURES REVOLVE AROUND THE BLACK FEMALE EXPERIENCE.
Working in ceramic, steel, bronze and raffia, Simone Leigh is known for examining ideas of the female body, race and beauty. PHOTO COURTESY OF SIMONE LEIGH AND ANDERSON RANCH
WHEN WORLD-RENOWNED ARTIST Simone Leigh first spent time at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, she fired ceramic works in the center’s Noborigama kiln with fellow artist Takashi Nakazato. “In my short time here,” she said in 2019, “I have already started to have new ideas.” Her large-scale sculptures and performance-based installations are informed by the exploration of Black female subjectivity. In her iconic sculptures, the female form, often faceless, melds with objects associated with African architecture and vessels like jugs and pitchers.
Simone Leigh, “Jug” (2019, bronze), 84.5 by 49.6 by 48.7 inches. This piece is one of three sculptures featured in Loophole of Retreat, the artist’s Hugo Boss Prize exhibition. PHOTO BY DAVID HEALD/COURTESY OF SIMONE LEIGH AND ANDERSON RANCH
This fall, the Brooklyn-based artist was selected to represent the United States at Venice Biennale 2022, making history as the first Black woman ever to receive this prestigious honor. “Despite the really horrific climate that we’ve reached, it still doesn’t distract me from the fact of how amazing it is to be a Black artist right now,” Leigh told The New York Times.
During Anderson Ranch’s first-ever Recognition Week this summer, Leigh will be honored with the International Artist Award, given annually to artists who demonstrate the highest level of artistic achievement and whose careers have fundamentally influenced contemporary art. Past recipients include Ai Weiwei, Carrie Mae Weems, Frank Stella and Christo.
The celebration week will include Leigh in conversation with author Saidiya Hartman, a special appearance by the Guerrilla Girls and collaborations with Aspen Film, Aspen Words and Jazz Aspen Snowmass. If you can’t make it to Snowmass for Recognition Week, consider taking a workshop to create your own art this summer. Anderson Ranch’s 5-acre, open-air campus features both an outdoor sculpture exhibition and indoor studio spaces. It’s the perfect place to celebrate art and find inspiration. July 12-16, andersonranch.org/recognition-week