Lauren Halsey is the winner of the Frieze Artist Award, a major commission by an emerging artist at Frieze New York. Curated for the first time by Courtney J. Martin, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Dia Art Foundation, New York, the Frieze Artist Award is supported by the Luma Foundation.
Halsey’s proposal was selected from hundreds of artist applications from more than 50 countries, following an international open call. The 2019 Frieze Artist Award selection jury included curator Courtney J. Martin, and guest judges Rina Banerjee (artist) and Paulina Pobocha (Associate Curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York), chaired by Loring Randolph (Artistic Director, Frieze Americas). Halsey receives a budget of up to 25,000 USD to realise her artwork at Frieze New York 2019, under the curatorial guidance of Martin.
Lauren Halsey makes work about, in response to, and in collaboration with, the South Central Los Angeles community where she lives. Her projects take shape as standalone objects, installations, functional architecture, and fleeting interventions. They can include everything from discarded CDs, party flyers, beauty shop coupons, and printed advertisements to informal signage, maps of bus routes, and tributes to local heroes. Inspired by Afrofuturism, hip hop, and funk, Halsey preserves and remixes the signifiers created by residents and businesses in her neighbourhood, generating poetic forms with the potential to galvanise collective energy and action. Her experimental sculptures and spaces are collaborative and community-oriented, but they are also the products of her own singular vision and intuitive feeling for visual culture and language.
For Frieze New York 2019, Halsey will create an architectural intervention in which fantasy architecture, neighbourhood ephemera, images of du-rag models, black ideological pyramid worlds and Afrofuturist myth coincide and coalesce. Standing at pivotal gateways and communal areas within the fair, columns with carved surfaces evoke a set of archetypal ruins seemingly imported from the future. In some cases covered with brightly coloured paint, and in others left with the monochromatic hues of their materials, the columns conflate the world of the street with iconographies of ancient (and fictional) civilisations. Frieze visitors will be invited to move between and around the structures, encountering carvings, drawings, aspirational notes and objects that pay testament to marginalised communities and suggest possibilities for alternate futures.
Curator Courtney J. Martin said about the artist, “Lauren is an incredible artist, able to work in a variety of media. The jury and I were impressed by her ability to transform a quotidian object like a column into a three-dimensional object with references to antiquity and to the former grandeur once bestowed upon civic monuments. I have watched her practice since she was a graduate student at Yale and am so pleased to see how she has developed into a complex maker. I am excited to be able to watch her expand her skills in new directions for this year’s Prize.”
Frieze New York 2019 took place from May 2-5, 2019 in Randall’s Island Park.