On March 27, 2018, Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with the Photography Program at Parsons School of Design, of The New School, was pleased to present an artist talk with Sable Elyse Smith. Smith, known for her work across photography, video, poetry, and performance, calls attention to the personal consequences of mass incarceration in the United States, and how these confining structures in society invisibly shape our minds and direct our bodies. Her recent artist’s book Landscapes & Playgrounds (2017), featured in Aperture’s “Prison Nation” issue, is a meditation on the complex language and emotional landscapes embedded in a system of surveillance. Smith’s work has been presented most recently in Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon at the New Museum and in the solo exhibition Ordinary Violence at the Queens Museum in New York. She is a 2018 artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Sable Elyse Smith is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator based in New York. Her practice considers memory and trauma while enacting an undoing of language. Her work has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, the New Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, SIGNAL Gallery, Rachel Uffner Gallery, and Recess Assembly, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Artists’ Television Access, San Francisco; and Birkbeck Cinema in collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries, London. Her writing has been published in Radical Teacher, Studio Magazine, and Affidavit, and she recently published her first book. Smith has received awards from Creative Capital, Fine Arts Work Center, the Queens Museum, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, the Franklin Furnace Fund, and Art Matters. She is currently part-time faculty at Columbia University School of the Arts and visiting faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Sculpture and Extended Media department.
Aperture magazine’s “Prison Nation” issue and the related exhibition and programs are funded, in part, with generous lead support from the Ford Foundation, as well as funding from the Reba Judith Sandler Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, and the Board of Trustees and Members of Aperture Foundation. Additional public funds are from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.