An Artist Ascendant: Simone Leigh Moves Into the Mainstream
The sculptures were hard to miss at the 2016 Art Show in the Park Avenue Armory — an arresting line of ceramic female busts with rosette heads and raffia torsos, both majestic and ethereal, figural yet abstract.
That may have been the moment when Simone Leigh, the Chicago-born artist behind those sculptures, moved into the mainstream, since the busts quickly sold out — including to the prominent collector Glenn Fuhrman, making other buyers take notice.
Ms. Leigh’s career has taken off since then. She moved from a modest gallery (Tilton) to a larger one (Luhring Augustine) and saw her work acquired by important museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; and the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Since October, when she won the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Wein Artist Prize, she’s been checking off firsts. November: The first time one of her pieces sold at a major auction, at Sotheby’s. December: She was shortlisted for the Guggenheim’s 2018 Hugo Boss prize. On Sept. 8, she opens her first significant solo New York gallery show, at Luhring Augustine. And she has been selected as the inaugural winner of the High Line’s new series of large-scale commissions, which will be unveiled in April, her first public project.