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MCA Talk: Leslie Hewitt

; 16 minutes, 47 seconds, looped. Produced by Karin Chien, and commissioned by the Menil Collection, Houston, with the support of Jerean and Holland Chaney, in collaboration with the Des Moines Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Additional funding provided by Joseph Chung, Marilyn and Larry Fields, and Elliot and Kimberly Perry. Material support provided by Kodak, Panavision, Harbor Picture Company.

Courtesy of the artists and Lucien Terras Inc., New York © MCA Chicago


Leslie Hewitt discusses her MCA Screen exhibition, Untitled (Structures), with Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator.

About the Artist

Leslie Hewitt’s photographs rest in sturdy wooden frames that lean against the wall and invite viewers to experience a unique space between photography and sculpture. Her work combines still life compositions comprised of political, social, and personal materials, which result in multiple histories seen embedded in sculptural, architectural, and abstract forms. Mundane objects and structures open into complex systems of knowledge. This perceptual slippage is what attracts Hewitt to both the illusions of film (still and moving photography) and the undeniable presence of physical objects (sculpture). Exploring this as an artist and not as a historiographer, Hewitt draws parallels between the formal appearance of things and their significance to collective history and political consciousness in contemporary art. Hewitt studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the Yale University School of Art, and at New York University, where she was a Clark Fellow in the Africana and Visual Culture Studies programs. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and the recipient of the 2008 Art Matters research grant to the Netherlands. Hewitt has held residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, among others.