Xaviera Simmons’ monument is a series of sculptural forms holding landscapes of text composed of fragments of language culled from historical documents that are foundational, guiding, or pivotal to the present intertwining of the centuries of racial caste construction and current system of disenfranchisement in the United States. The works are on one hand a monument to systemic promises denied while working to acknowledgement the sustainability of the creative impulse. The works offer accessibility to some of the foundational language of long-standing governmental policies that continue to shape the material conditions we live within presently. Simmons works to construct a new form for her studio practice while embedding each work with historical context.
Xaviera Simmons’ sweeping body of work includes photography, performance, choreography, video, sound, sculpture, and installation. Simmons’ interdisciplinary practice is rooted in shifting definitions of landscape and character development; art, political and social histories; and the interconnectedness of formal processes.
Simmons received her BFA from Bard College (2004) after spending two years on a walking pilgrimage retracing the Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade with Buddhist Monks. She completed the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art (2005) while simultaneously completing a two-year actor-training conservatory with The Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York.
Simmons is a recipient Agnes Gund’s Art for Justice Award (2018), as well as Denniston Hills’ Distinguished Performance Artist Award (2018). She was also honored at Socrates Sculpture Park’s 2019 Annual Gala, alongside Agnes Gund. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions and projects including Sundown at David Castillo Gallery, Miami, The Restless Earth curated by Massimiliano Gioni, at the Phillips Collection, Washington (2019); and Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places Commission, Miami (2018-19). Recent solo exhibitions include Define Abolition at Harvard University, Cambridge (2019), Convene at SculptureCenter, New York (2018); Overlay at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge (2017); The Gold Miner’s Mission to Dwell on the Tide Line at The Museum of Modern Art’s The Modern Window, New York (2015-16); and CODED at The Kitchen, New York (2016). Current and recent museum group exhibitions include Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Nasher Museum of Art, Durham; Prospect.4, New Orleans; Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati; and Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, among others.
Simmons has works currently on view in exhibitions worldwide. She is a visiting lecturer and the inaugural 2019 Solomon Fellow at Harvard University and will be awarded The Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard College in Spring 2020. Simmons is represented by David Castillo, Miami.