Leslie Hewitt

June 24, 2022—June 4, 2023, Dia Bridgehampton

Overview

Leslie Hewitt’s approach to photography and sculpture reimagines the art-historical still-life genre from a postminimal perspective. Her geometric compositions, which she frames and crystallizes through the disciplines of photography and film theory, are spare assemblages of ordinary materials and personal effects, suggesting a porosity between intimate and sociopolitical histories. Exploring ideas of light, sound, and inertia, the artist has realized an array of low-profile sculptures that are laterally distributed within and outside the gallery at Dia Bridgehampton, as well as a diagrammatic score composed in collaboration with artist Jamal Cyrus. Hewitt and Cyrus have invited the artists Rashida Bumbray, Jason Moran, and Immanuel Wilkins to interpret the score throughout the yearlong run of the exhibition, at venues in New York City and on the East End of Long Island. The exhibition’s expansive sensorium puts forth an alternative corporeal, spatial, and sonic mapping of the site.

Leslie Hewitt is curated by Matilde Guidelli-Guidi, associate curator.

Leslie Hewitt at Dia Bridgehampton is made possible by generous support from Perrotin and Clarice Oliveira Tavares. Additional support is provided by the Girlfriend Fund, Jane Hait and Justin Beal, Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder Foundation, Neda Young, and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Leslie Hewitt’s approach to photography and sculpture re-imagines the art-historical still-life genre from a postminimal perspective. Her geometric compositions, which she frames and crystallizes through the disciplines of photography and film theory, are spare assemblages of ordinary materials and personal effects, alluding to the porosity between intimate and sociopolitical histories. She draws these connections through formal rather than didactic processes such as syncopation and juxtaposition that make her work discursive and layered.

Exploring ideas of light, sound, and inertia, Hewitt has realized an array of low-profile sculptures that are laterally distributed within and outside the gallery at Dia Bridgehampton, as well as a diagrammatic score composed in collaboration with artist Jamal Cyrus. Hewitt and Cyrus invited the artists Rashida Bumbray, Jason Moran, and Immanuel Wilkins to interpret the score at venues in New York City and on the East End of Long Island throughout the yearlong run of the exhibition. The exhibition’s expansive sensorium puts forth an alternative corporeal, spatial, and sonic mapping of the site.

In renovating Dia Bridgehampton for the purpose of hosting art, Dan Flavin memorialized its previous functions as a firehouse and then a Baptist church. The material memory of the building is an invitation to history that Hewitt takes on in this new body of work. Following scholar Tiffany Lethabo King’s theorization of shoals as a locus of resistance to settler conquest and worldview, Hewitt directs us to where land and sea have met and re-formed each other across epochs and generations. Inside the gallery, three bronze sculptures reference the bodies of water on Long Island’s East End, namely the Mecox, Peconic, and Shinnecock Bays, in relation to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. A fourth sculpture is installed on the grounds of Dia Bridge-hampton. The work consists of a locally sourced boulder—formed, like the bays, by the interplay of sand and water over millennia—on which lies a matte bronze silhouette pointing toward the sky. The four sculptures eschew containment by calling on light and the surrounding landscape.

As a counterpoint to the sculptures, a monitor displays a score for performance, conceptualized by Hewitt and Cyrus in the form of a still life that evokes ideas of ritual. A wooden tambourine sculpture is placed beside an iridescent shell. Metadata scrolls next to the objects, and a sound is audible. The score can be imagined in conjunction with jazz pianist Thelonious Monk’s composition “Evidence” (first recorded on July 2, 1948), which is characterized by syncopated notes that suddenly well up from silence. The artists see the indetermi-nate logic of Fluxus notations and the fractal nature of the jazz standard as a way to explore the intersections of experimental music, notions of the Black radical tradition, and the elemental sounds, patterns, and breaks of the ocean as it meets the shore.

Matilde Guidelli-Guidi 

All works courtesy the artist and Perrotin

1. In collaboration with Jamal Cyrus, For Solo Piano, Alto Saxophone, or Tambourine (This Score May Be Realized in Any Imaginative Way, or inconjunction with or in response to the recording of the song Evidence (Justice) 00:07:55 on the album Monk in Tokyo, Columbia Records (1963) with Thelonious Monk on piano, Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, ButchWarren on bass, and Frankie Dunlap on drums or Evidence 00:04:41 onthe album Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, Blue Note Records (1957) with Thelonious Monk on piano, John Coltraneon tenor saxophone, Ahamed Abdul-Malik on bass, and Shadow Wilson ondrums or Evidence 00:05:00 on the album Evidence, New Jazz (1962) with Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone, Don Cherry on trumpet, Carl Brown on Bass, and Billie Higgins (Abdul Kareem) on drums), 2022 Digital file, monitor, and headphones

2. Untitled (Basin Hmm, Hum or Hymn), 2022
Bronze

3. Untitled (Bay Valley Rift), 2022
Bronze

4. Untitled (Shinnecock Bay Atlantic Sound), 2022
Bronze

5. Birthmark, 2022
Boulder and bronze

Leslie Hewitt is an artist and educator living in Harlem, New York, and Houston, Texas. Hewitt has held residencies at, among others, the Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; American Academy in Berlin; and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Solo presentations of her work have been held at, among others, Artists Space, New York (2007); the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Missouri (2012); the Menil Collection, Houston (2013); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2014); Sculpture Center, New York (2016); and Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin (2022). 

Rashida Bumbray is a performance artist and curator living in Brooklyn, New York. 

Jamal Cyrus is an artist and educator living in Harlem, New York, and Houston, Texas. 

Tiffany Lethabo King is a scholar and educator living in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Jason Moran is a jazz pianist, composer, and educator living in New York.

Immanuel Wilkins is a saxophonist and composer living in Brooklyn, New York. 

Performances

Jason Moran, Sunday, November 27, 2022, 3 pm
Village Vanguard, 178 7th Avenue, New York

Immanuel Wilkins, Sunday, March 5, 2023, 3 pm
Dia Chelsea, 537 W 22nd Street, New York

Rashida Bumbray, Sunday, May 14, 2023
Location and time to be announced 

Lecture

Tiffany Lethabo King, date and time to be announced
Dia Chelsea, 537 W 22nd Street, New York 

Artist

Leslie Hewitt

Leslie Hewitt was born in New York City in 1977, where she currently lives. 

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Books

Leslie Hewitt

The book features a chronological history of Leslie Hewitt’s practice from 2004–2018, told visually through these spreads with Hewitt’s remarks interspersed throughout, illuminating her thinking during the time, in addition to essays by scholars and art historians Nana Adusei-Poku and Lisa Lee, and an interview between Hewitt and curator Eva Respini.

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