Cauleen Smith: Mutualities

Feb 17, 2020–Jan 31, 2021

Cauleen Smith (b. 1967) draws on experimental film, non-Western cosmologies, poetry, and science fiction to create works that reflect on memory and Afro-diasporic histories. Mutualities, the artist’s first solo show in New York, presents two of Smith’s films, Sojourner and Pilgrim—each in a newly created installation environment—along with a new group of drawings collectively titled Firespitters

The films unfold across several important sites in Black spiritual and cultural history, weaving together writings by women from different eras, including Shaker visionary Rebecca Cox Jackson, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, the 1970s Black feminist organization Combahee River Collective, and experimental jazz composer and spiritual leader Alice Coltrane, whose music also forms the soundtrack for both films. Smith’s poetic use of the camera and light draws the viewer into a welcoming and accepting space that reveals the many ways in which invention and generosity can be resources for transformation and regeneration.

Cauleen Smith: Mutualities is organized by Chrissie Iles, Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Curator, with Clemence White, senior curatorial assistant.

Cauleen Smith: Mutualities is part of the Whitney’s emerging artists program, sponsored by

Generous support is provided by The Rosenkranz Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the Artists Council.

Explore works from this exhibition
in the Whitney's collection

View 3 works

In the News

"[A] visual feat" —The Art Newspaper

"Smith merges utopian futurism with wistful revision." —The New Yorker

"In many ways Cauleen Smith is the dynamic, conceptual artist one would expect. Beyond expectations, however, is her bold—and especially collaborative—creative voice." —CR Fashion Book