Profile: Ilana Harris-Babou (1991-)

Ilana Harris-Babou is an American sculptor and installation artist. Harris-Babou was born in Brooklyn, New York, and currently lives and works in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where her studio is located. Her upbringing was discussed in an interview on the Amy Beecher Show in August 2019.

Artistic practice

Harris-Babou often uses music videos, cooking shows, and home improvement television as material in her practice, often dissecting notions of the American Dream. Her practices engages ideas about intimacy, violence, and consumption Harris-Babou speaks to her audience through humor and reconstructed consumer culture. She describes her work more in an interview with PIN-UP.

In 2018, she created a fake hardware store at the Larrie Gallery in New York City. This project, titled “Reparation Hardware”, features reclaimed furniture to create sculptures that reflect the notion of making the old new again. Her work on “Reparation Hardware” critiques double standards and the modern American ideals of life within the home. She also features political messages reflecting the emancipation and equality of African-Americans in the United States.

Her most recent exhibition is titled “Decision Fatigue” and was featured at Hesse Flatow in New York City from February 20 to March 21, 2020. This exhibit features a video of Harris-Babou’s mother, Sheila Harris conducting a makeup tutorial. The artist’s mother reflects on her choices to appear youthful and healthy, questioning the reality of her youth. Harris-Babou uses this video to examine how structural problems are sometimes concealed as personal choices. The exhibit also features sculptures that are similar to items found in a boutique but altered to appear abnormal.

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