Ming Smith, Circular Breathing, Hart Leroy Bibbs, Paris. 1980. Courtesy of the artist. © Ming Smith
Projects: Ming Smith
Feb 4 – May 29, 2023
MoMA
New York, USA

For Ming Smith, photography is where the senses and the spirit collide through the prism of light, a process she has compared to “getting that precise moment…getting the feeling…like the blues.”

Projects: Ming Smith offers a critical reintroduction to a photographer who has been living and working in New York since the 1970s. She has inspired a generation of artists engaging the politics and poetics of the photographic image in relation to experiences of Blackness. Through her use of long exposures, Smith dissolves the boundaries between her subjects and their surroundings, creating dreamlike, abstract images led by intuition and honed through repetition.

The result of the curators’ deep dive into Smith’s archive, Projects: Ming Smith bridges the distance between the present and the past, opening a photographic portal through which to encounter her images anew. The exhibition highlights how Smith’s images collapse the senses, encouraging us to attend to the hue of sound, the rhythm of form, and the texture of vision. As critic A. D. Coleman has written, Smith “sees and thinks in the minor key.”

Organized by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, MoMA / The Museum of Modern Art.

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