“Seven Contemplations” (2020 to 2021) at Albright-Knox Northland. All images © Swoon, shared with permission

In some ways, Caledonia Curry’s work as a public artist has come full circle, an evolution she discusses in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. Curry debuted as a New York City street artist known as Swoon right around the turn of the last century, her hand-worked portraits making striking, albeit illegal, statements on old walls. Today, she harnesses that same energy into intricate—and intimate—installations set in museums and galleries.

When I look at a face for days, when I take a portrait of somebody on the street, and then I stare at that face for days and days, there’s this part of my brain that’s like, “This human is utterly perfect. I’ve never seen anything more noble and beautiful than this person.” And then I think, “You think that every time.” That’s because it’s true.

Swoon spoke with Colossal contributor Paulette Beete about how the act of looking is at the center of her practice, why she’s started to address her own trauma in addition to that experienced by others, and why her body of work to date is like a lifesaving yarn, a map of both where she’s been, where she’s going, and everything she’s learned along the way.

 

“Yaya,” Hong Kong

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