August 29, 2020 – March 14, 2021
Xaviera Simmons, ‘The structure the labor the foundation the escape the pause,’ 2020. Image by Sara Morgan.

‘The structure the labor the foundation the escape the pause’

Steel, wood, concrete, and acrylic
In three parts: a. 17 x 4 x 12 feet; b. 14.8 feet x 10 inches x 7.5 feet; c. 12.5 x 9 x 26 feet

*Upcoming Event

Tune into Zoom or Facebook on Thursday, September 5th at 5pm for a conversation with artist Xaviera Simmons & Socrates’ Curator Jess Wilcox live-streamed from the Park! Learn More–>

About the work

Simmons’ trio of sculptures combine massive steel abstract forms with landscapes of text culled from historical documents that are foundational to centuries of racial caste construction, white supremacy and disenfranchisement in the United States.

Excerpts from the 1865 Civil War military command, Special Field Orders no. 15, highlight a pivotal historical moment when the U.S. government briefly granted land and federal protections to Black Americans upon their emancipation from the American system of slavery.

This real historical anchor (known colloquially as 40 Acres And A Mule) flickers between likeness (in message) and contrast (in linguistic style) with the second text, which is a woven amalgamation of contemporary calls for reparations to the descendants of American Slavery.

Together the works draw upon systemic promises thus far denied while embracing the sustainability of the revolutionary impulse through the centering of policy language and the centuries long calls for repair from the Black American community.

The language is tied directly to our current revolutionary moment and its links to the past, present and future. These works offer access to some of the foundational language of long-standing governmental policies that, if revisited advocated for and implemented would monumentally (fundamentally) shift the American material landscape and the social conditions we live within presently.

Artist Bio

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 has works currently on view in exhibitions worldwide. She is a visiting lecturer and the inaugural 2019 Solomon Fellow at Harvard University and was awarded The Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard College in Spring 2020. Simmons is represented by David Castillo, Miami.


The artist also thanks the Art for Justice Fund for their lasting support of her work.