The Studio Museum in Harlem has named Simone Leigh the 2017 winner of its Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, which annually recognizes an African-American artist and comes with an award of $50,000.
Leigh, who is based in New York, has had a longstanding relationship with the Studio Museum, having first shown work there in 2010, when she was an artist-in-residence. She has since been included in the museum’s 2012 exhibition “Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art” and its initiative InHarlem, which places public artworks in parks around and near the neighborhood in Upper Manhattan.
Her work is currently on view in the New Museum’s exhibition “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon,” in which she is showing new sculptures about the ongoing effects of slavery on black women. Last year, she also turned the museum’s fifth-floor gallery into a space for healing workshops and community events.
Leigh’s win was announced last night at the Studio Museum’s gala, which honored David Adjaye, the architect who is currently designing the institution’s new building. Leigh joins a group of awardees that includes Derrick Adams, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and Lorna Simpson.