Profile: Susan Smith-Pinelo

Susan Smith-Pinelo is an African-American artist noted for her work in video and performance. She lives and works in Washington, DC.


Smith-Pinelo received a B.F.A. from Oberlin College in 1991. She received an M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2000.


Susan Smith-Pinelo’s work challenges conceptions of black identity and gender in rap music, and is particularly concerned with questioning the misogyny of the genre. For example, her 2001 Studio Museum in Harlem installation Sometimes has a close-up video of a black woman’s breasts with a necklace saying “ghetto” around her neck dancing to music which sounds through the museum. Sometimes plays with form in order to “confront perceptions of black identity and femininity.”

Awards and fellowships

Among the honors which Susan Smith-Pinelo has earned are:

Joan Sovern Sculpture Award (1999)

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