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Future Exhibitions

Deana Lawson

October 7, 2022–February 19, 2023

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A woman and two young children pose by an artificial Christmas tree.

Deana Lawson (American, born 1979), Coulson Family, 2008, pigment print, courtesy of the artist; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. © Deana Lawson.

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Two young men with dark skin and tattoos sit shirtless on a leather couch. One man points at the camera as though he were shooting a handgun at it, the other has gold mouth brace forcing his jaws open.

Deana Lawson (American, born 1979), Nation, 2018, pigment print and collaged photograph, courtesy of the artist; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. © Deana Lawson.

Featuring work made over the past two decades, this exhibition is the first museum survey dedicated to Deana Lawson. Working primarily in photography, Lawson investigates and challenges conventional representations of Black identities and bodies. Her work evokes a range of photographic histories and styles, including family albums, studio portraiture, and staged tableaux; she also employs documentary pictures and appropriated images.

In Lawson’s highly staged scenes, individuals, couples, and families are pictured in intimate domestic spaces and public settings, interacting with one another. The artist describes her work as “a mirror of everyday life, but also a projection of what I want to happen. It’s about setting a different standard of values and saying that everyday Black lives, everyday experiences, are beautiful, and powerful, and intelligent.” Lawson’s practice is global in scope, as she creates her images throughout the African diaspora in locations as varied as Brooklyn, Haiti, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Southern United States. This broad geographical range points to a collective memory of shared experiences and various cultural histories of the past.

This exhibition is co-organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston and MoMA PS1.

Organization and Support

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor

Delta logo.

Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
ACT Foundation, Inc.
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate

wish Foundation logo.

Harry Norman

Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters
Robin and Hilton Howell

Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Corporate Environments
The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation
Elizabeth and Chris Willett

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Farideh and Al Azadi
Sandra and Dan Baldwin
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
Mrs. Peggy Foreman
Helen C. Griffith
Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Dr. Joe B. Massey
Margot and Danny McCaul
Wade Rakes and Nicholas Miller
The Fred and Rita Richman Fund
USI Insurance Services
Mrs. Harriet H. Warren

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.