Lauren Halsey
(Los Angeles, CA, USA, 1987)

bah bah black sheep, 2021

Inkjet print on paper
243,8 x 158,8 cm; 244,5 x 159,4 x 5,1 cm (framed)
Ed. 2/6 of an edition of 6 + 2 AP

[Photo: Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio, © ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy Pascale Marthine Tayou and GALLERIA CONTINUA, by SIAE 2021]

Lauren Halsey creates works in direct relationship with her native city, Los Angeles: she explores the sociopolitical problems of the southern neighborhoods and is against the gentrification that is currently underway. Her artistic path aims to restore power to individuals in the community. By taking and mixing images from the urban landscape of her area in the South Los Angeles with images having to do with the struggle for civil rights, the battle for economic justice in the United States, and images linked to the hip-hop popular culture, science fiction, funk, and Afro-Futurism, Halsey contextualizes her work within the reign of memory and fantasy. 

bah bah black sheep is the largest work she’s ever made in this format. Inspired by Afrofuturism, fantasy architecture, and funk, the artist creates a visionary form of culture and evokes built and imaginative environments. Her sensitivity to the human form also allows her to extrapolate universal themes from the particularities of her local life. Especially important is the title, which refers to the English musical nursery rhyme Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, from the 18th century, which many believe alludes to the slave trade in the southern United States.

Lauren Halsey lives and works in Los Angeles. She has presented solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2021); David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2019); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2018). In 21018, at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, she was awarded the Mohn Award for artistic excellence. She was also awarded Seattle Art Museum’s 2021 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize. Her work is in the collections of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2020, Halsey founded Summaeverythang Community Center and has been commissioned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, to create a site-specific installation for the museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.