“Brick House” Sculpture Puts Black Female Strength on Display

By CultureBanx Team

  • A 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a black woman will grace NYC’s High Line
  • Simone Leigh’s art pieces sell for $40,000 to $125,000

Manhattan’s elevated outdoor walkway, the High Line will open its first section solely dedicated to art. High Line announced its inaugural project for the Plinth will be a 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a black woman by artist Simone Leigh. The art piece is titled “Brick House”, and is a reference to the 1977 disco-funk classic Motown hit by the Commodores.

Why This Matters: Leigh is beginning to garner worldwide attention for her work across sculpture, video and installation. She specializes on the intersection of African American feminism, as it relates to  political and economic environments. Her work now sells from anywhere between $40,000 to $125,000.

For Leigh “Brick House” is the perfect amalgamation of the power black women possess. “[The Commodores song] was a celebration of black womanhood that we hadn’t really heard. That was what was resonant about it, not necessarily a male gaze but that beauty was associated with mightiness and strength, as opposed to fragility. Being solid,” Leigh said.

This sculpture is part of her ongoing "Anatomy of Architecture" series. It depicts elements of the human body paired with shapes that resemble houses from the old South and a multitude of regions in Africa.      

“Leigh’s practice conveys a reckoning with contemporary and historical relationships between the body, architecture, and society, as well as with questions as to whose visages and experiences we monumentalize in our public squares,” said Cecilia Alemani, the director and chief curator of High Line Art in a statement.  

Last October, Leigh was awarded the $50,000 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize handed out by the Studio Museum in Harlem. Also, she is currently a candidate for another major award, the Guggenheim’s 2018 Hugo Boss Prize.

What’s Next: Brick House is the first in a series of outdoor projects slated for the Plinth. Leigh’s unique sculpture will debut in April 2019 and remain on view until September 2020.

CBx Vibe: “Brick House” Commodores