Self's project Bodega Run examines the neighborhood convenience store as both a gathering place for community and a microcosm of how current economic and political issues are impacting people’s lives.
Working across a range of mediums, including painting, print-making, sculpture, collage, sewing, and installation, Tschabalala Self often depicts ample, powerful, and self-contained figures to explore cultural attitudes toward race and gender. Simultaneously embracing and rejecting stereotypes and fantasies that revolve around black women’s bodies in particular, her lively and spirited portrayals propose new forms of representation that are empowered and celebratory.
For her Hammer Project, Self presents the fifth, and final, iteration of her project Bodega Run, which examines the neighborhood convenience store as both a gathering place for community and a microcosm of how current economic and political issues are impacting people’s lives. Presented in the Hammer’s lobby gallery as a vibrant corner store, the installation includes wallpaper made from Self’s simple line drawings of foods commonly available on market shelves, a tiled linoleum floor, paintings of customers shopping amongst colorful patterns of products, and freestanding sculptures portraying silhouetted animals and a shopkeeper, as well as electronic LED signs in the window emblematic of the various economies that operate in these settings. Bodegas are commonplace in Harlem, where Self was born and continues to reside, and the Bodega Run series traces some of the changes of ownership and demographics associated with these small stores and how they reflect the shifting identities of urban neighborhoods.
Hammer Projects: Tschabala Self is organized by Anne Ellegood, senior curator.
Tschabalala Self (b. 1990, New York City) lives and works in Harlem and New Haven, CT. She received her B.A. from Bard College in 2012 and her M.F.A. from the Yale School of Art in 2015. Selected recent solo exhibitions include Bodega Run, Pilar Corrias Gallery, London (2017); Sour Patch, Thierry Goldberg, Miami (2017); Tschabalala Self, Tramway, Glasgow (2017); Tschabalala Self, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London (2017); Gut Feelings, Thierry Goldberg, New York, NY (2016); Desire, Moore Building, Miami (2016); The Function, T293, Naples (2016); Out of Body, Thierry Goldberg, New York, NY (2015); and Tropicana, The Cabin, Los Angeles (2015). Recent group exhibitions include The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville (2018); Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2017); A Shape That Stands Up, Art + Practice, Los Angeles (2016); and A Constellation, Studio Museum in Harlem, Harlem (2015). Self is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2018).
Hammer Projects is presented in memory of Tom Slaughter and with support from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.
Lead funding is provided by Hope Warschaw and John Law and by the Hammer Collective. Generous support is also provided by Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy, with additional support from Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.