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Simone Leigh Parts Ways With Hauser & Wirth

Simone Leigh at Stratton Sculpture Studios in 2020. © Simone Leigh. Photo by Shaniqwa Jarvis:Hauser & Wirth.

Pathbreaking sculptor Simone Leigh, who at the Fifty-Ninth Venice Biennale opening next May is to become the first Black woman to represent the United States, has announced that she is leaving Hauser & Wirth after less than two years with the megagallery, as Artnews was the first to report.

“I love and respect the people I worked with at Hauser & Wirth,” said Leigh in a statement. “But I do not feel the gallery is the right fit for me in the wider sense. I’m still figuring out what I want from a primary gallery relationship.”

Leigh, whose large-scale ceramic-and-raffia works investigate Black female subjectivity, joined the gallery in January 2020, on the heels of her 2018 Hugo Boss Prize win, her 2019 Whitney Biennial appearance, and her commission for the High Line Plinth, the first work to be displayed there. She was previously represented by Luhring Augustine in New York, where she stayed for roughly four years, and by David Kordansky in Los Angeles, where she lasted six months. She was tapped to do the Biennale in October 2020 by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, which is organizing the US pavilion there. That same month saw Leigh’s work auction for a record high when her 2020 sculpture NO FACE (HOUSE) sold for $403,000 at Sotheby’s New York, according to the Artnet Price Database.

“Simone Leigh is a wonderful artist whose unique vision has expanded that of others in the world,” said Hauser & Wirth president Marc Payot. “We wish her future success and look forward to watching her work evolve and surprise in the years to come.” An exhibition of Leigh’s work remains on view at the gallery’s Zurich outpost through December 4.

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