Pioneering Photographer Ming Smith on How She Found Freedom in Her Art, and the Power of Drawing on ‘Goddess Energy’

William Van Meter & Cadillac, Artnet News, February 6, 2023
Whether she’s shooting street photography, portraiture, or landscapes, Ming Smith always produces a singularly poetic version of whatever genre she tackles. While the pioneering art photographer’s career has spanned 50 years, the past two in particular have been especially fruitful, with gallery exhibitions in London and New York, as well as a monograph published by Aperture. The scope of her vision is on full display in 2023, with projects ranging from two solo museum exhibitions to a collaboration with Cadillac.


First up is “Projects,” which opened February 4 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This deep dive into Smith’s black-and-white archives is a full-circle achievement: In 1975, she was the first African American female photographer to have her work acquired by MoMA. (Smith was also the first female member of groundbreaking photo collective Kamoinge, spotlighted in 2020 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.) At Frieze L.A., Smith’s “The Things She Knows”—new and rare choreographic-inspired works—will be on display at Nicola Vassell Gallery’s booth from February 16 through 19. “Feeling the Future,” opening in May at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, is a vivid counterbalance with splashes of color.

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