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40 Under 40 USA 2023

Lauren Halsey

25 September 2023

Los Angeles

Lauren Halsey is an obsessive collector of objects, which she gathers from around her local neighbourhood in south central Los Angeles – where her family has lived for several generations – and which gradually make their way into her work alongside fabricated and handmade elements. Drawing inspiration from Afrofuturism and funk, her colourful installations and sculptures are visually lavish, to the point of brashness – in her mixed-media installation LODA (2022), disparate elements jostle, from the face of the sphinx to an outsize bottle of Hennessy cognac sprouting a palm tree from its neck. All is in the service of celebrating her community, while exploring issues facing people of colour, the working class and queer people. Her most recent project, a site-specific installation for the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, draws on artefacts from the museum’s Egyptian collection to imagine a modern-day monument in homage to Black American life, including sphinxes bearing the faces of members of her family and concrete panels inscribed with contemporary hieroglyphs. The work is on display until 22 October.

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