Lauren Halsey has been tapped for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual roof garden commission, the New York Times reports.
Halsey, who also founded the Summaeverythang community center, will have her installation on display from May 17 through Oct. 23 as a full-scale architectural structure. Dubbed “the eastside of South Central Los Angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I),” the piece will invite visitors to step inside to explore connections to ancient Egyptian symbolism, 1960s utopian architecture, and contemporary visual expressions like tagging.
“It’s a construction project that we’re managing that will exist within the context of the Met,” Halsey said, "a remix of and sampling of Pharaonic architectural symbols—the sphinx, columns, pavers.”
After it’s displayed at the Met, the display will be featured in her hometown of South Central Los Angeles.
“Halsey’s activist vision offers a portal into the near future,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the Met’s chairwoman of Modern and Contemporary Art, in a statement. “She has created a monument to living architecture, carved exquisitely with a pictographic vernacular that meshes ancient hieroglyphs with the visual motifs of her home and community.”
“With this installation, Halsey channels the Met’s unparalleled Egyptian Art collections through the lens of Afrofuturism, while also creating a powerful form of documentation of her neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles,” continued Max Hollein, the Met’s director. “Engaging with the past, while also exploring a space of speculative imagination, Halsey offers us a powerful statement about civic space, social activism, and a reconsideration of the possibilities for architecture and community engagement.”
A graduate of Yale in 2014 with an M.F.A., Halsey was previously an artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. One of her projects was selected for the 2019 Frieze Artist Award, a commission for emerging artists supported by the Luma Foundation. Additionally, she’s was featured in the Hammer Museum’s biennial “Made in L.A.” and in early 2020, she had her first exhibition at the David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles.