Seattle Art Museum presents prize-winner Lauren Halsey's solo exhibition

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Seattle Art Museum presents prize-winner Lauren Halsey's solo exhibition
Installation view of Lauren Halsey at Seattle Art Museum, 2022, photo: Natali Wiseman.

SEATTLE, WA.- The Seattle Art Museum presents the solo exhibition for Lauren Halsey (February 4–July 17, 2022), the winner of the 2021 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize. Grounded in art, architecture, and community engagement, Los Angeles-based Halsey creates mixed-media works and installations that address gentrification and disenfranchisement, celebrate Black culture, and offer visions for a radical and collaborative future.

For her exhibition at SAM, Halsey presents large-scale carved gypsum relief panels, installed along the perimeter of the gallery. Reminiscent of temple walls, each panel is etched with an array of iconography, including the queens, pharaohs, and pyramids of ancient Egypt and the people and slogans of Black culture found in her neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles.

In the center of the gallery, visitors can circulate around a stacked sculpture of oversized boxes, covered in the colors, objects, and slogans of LA: neon-bright ombré stripes, iridescent CDs, and hand-lettered signage. This layered iconography comes from the artist’s personal archive, developed through research within her community. Placing these hyperlocal portraits, signs, and imagery in the context of real and imagined histories, Halsey remixes ancient and contemporary cultures into a unifying vision.

In addition to this solo exhibition, staged in the museum’s Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Halsey received a $10,000 award to further her artistic practice.

Awarded biannually since 2009 to an early career Black artist—defined loosely as an artist in the first decade of their career—the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize recognizes artists who have already contributed significantly to contemporary artistic practice and whose prominence is on the rise. Previous recipients of the prize are now leaders in the field; they include Titus Kaphar (2009), Theaster Gates (2011), LaToya Ruby Frazier (2013), Brenna Youngblood (2015), Sondra Perry (2017), and Aaron Fowler (2019).

Lauren Halsey (b. 1987, Los Angeles) has presented solo exhibitions at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2019); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2018). She participated in Made in L.A. 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018), where she was awarded the Mohn Award for artistic excellence. Her work is included in the collections of the Hammer Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Halsey was the recipient of the 2019 Painter and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York. In 2020, Lauren Halsey founded Summaeverythang Community Center and is currently in the process of developing a major public monument for construction in South Central Los Angeles, where she and her family have lived and worked for generations.

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