Ming Smith has been working in New York’s Harlem neighborhood since the 1970s, documenting Black life in works that transform images from photographic documents into elements of emotive expression. Her images are often developed or processed using such experimental techniques as hand-tinting, superimposition, and long exposures that blur the boundaries between her subjects and their surroundings. Her work is the subject of two important exhibitions this year. A focused show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art—curated by Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden and MoMA associate curator Oluremi C. Onabanjo—will be on view in MoMA’s free street-level galleries. In Houston, “Ming Smith: Feeling the Future” spans the artist’s career and includes some of her best-known portraits, including a lithe and regal Grace Jones at Studio 54 and the matronly, watchful Amen Corner Sisters.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Feb. 4–May 29, 2023; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, May 19–Oct. 1, 2023