Based in South Central Los Angeles, where her family has lived for generations, Halsey creates immersive installations that bridge sculpture and architecture, and collages that blend fantastic geographies with real ones. Her practice draws on local vernacular sources such as flyers, murals, signs, and tags—icons of pride, autonomy, initiative, and resilience that she recontextualizes and reinterprets. Both celebratory and archival, Halsey’s work offers a form of creative resistance to the forces of gentrification.
Halsey uses gypsum and glass fiber–reinforced concrete to produce environmental works, harnessing the materials’ ubiquity and adaptability. These projects are complemented by the graphic maximalism of her collages. In addition to the signs and symbols of contemporary South Central, Halsey employs the iconography of ancient Egypt as an Afrocentric means of reclaiming lost legacies and is inspired by the Afrofuturist aesthetics developed by funk pioneer George Clinton and his Parliament-Funkadelic ensemble and avant-garde jazz composer Sun Ra. She is also influenced by the visions of utopian architecture proposed in the 1960s by Archigram and Superstudio.
In 2023, Halsey built a site-specific installation commissioned for the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Titled the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I), the edifice is inspired by the Temple of Dendur and other artifacts from the museum’s collections. Designed to be entered and walked around, the monumental work is visible from Central Park. Incised on its walls are heads of some of the artist’s contemporaries, with words and images that reference her neighborhood. Sculptural sphinxes and Hathor columns are guardian figures adorned with the faces of important members of the community and Halsey’s family, including her mother, Glenda, and her partner, Monique. An emblem of personal and communal expression, the monument draws from the distant past, addresses the vitality of the present, and proposes a vision of the future.
Sited in South Central Los Angeles, Summaeverythang Community Center is an organization founded by Halsey in 2019 to advance Black and Brown empowerment on personal, political, economic, and sociocultural levels. Summaeverythang distributes free organic produce to the neighborhood, helping with the food insecurity crisis that was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and which remains a critical issue.
Gagosian represents Halsey worldwide, with David Kordansky Gallery representing her in Los Angeles.