Projects: Ming Smith

Ming Smith. Circular Breathing, Hart Leroy Bibbs, Paris, 1980. Courtesy of the artist. © Ming Smith

Feb 4May 29, 2023

MoMA, Floor 1

Projects: Ming Smith is part of a multiyear partnership between The Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA, and MoMA PS1. 

For Ming Smith, photography is where the senses and the spirit collide through the prism of light, a process she has compared to “getting that precise moment … getting the feeling … like the blues.”

Projects: Ming Smith offers a critical reintroduction to a photographer who has been living and working in New York since the 1970s. She has inspired a generation of artists engaging the politics and poetics of the photographic image in relation to experiences of blackness. Through her use of long exposures, Smith dissolves the boundaries between her subjects and their surroundings, creating dreamlike, abstract images led by intuition and honed through repetition.

The result of the curators’ deep dive into Smith’s archive, Projects: Ming Smith bridges the distance between the present and the past, opening a photographic portal through which to encounter her images anew. The exhibition highlights how Smith’s images collapse the senses, encouraging us to attend to the hue of sound, the rhythm of form, and the texture of vision. As critic A. D. Coleman has written, Smith “sees and thinks in the minor key.”

Projects: Ming Smith is organized by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, with the assistance of Kaitlin Booher, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, and Habiba Hopson, Curatorial Assistant, Permanent Collection, The Studio Museum in Harlem.

The exhibition is free and open to the public without a ticket. Visitors can enter at street level. COVID-19 vaccination and masks are no longer required, but strongly recommended for all visitors. More information can be found on MoMA's website.

Hear descriptions and contextual information on select works from the exhibition Projects: Ming Smith, on view at MoMA February 4—May 29, 2023. These tracks use precise, evocative language to convey the art’s visual appearance.