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Studio Sound: Sable Elyse Smith

July 03, 2024 – July 14, 2024

The Museum of Modern Art

The second annual presentation of Studio Sound—a performance series that champions artists and musicians whose work engages new possibilities for sound and music—will feature interdisciplinary artist and writer Sable Elyse Smith. Exploring auditory art forms through both live and recorded performance, this ongoing series suggests an expanded history of art in which sound plays a central role.

Smith’s work draws from the legacy of Conceptual art, using video, sculpture, photography, text, and now sound to confront the mundane and pervasive impacts of systemic oppression. At MoMA, Smith will present a new musical composition and video installation in the form of an opera, with ticketed performances and an installation on view during Museum hours. Part of a larger ongoing project, this work tells a story of queer love between two Black women set in a surreal environment. Unfolding across multiple scenes, the performance explores the political, collective, and dramatic potential of the voice as well as the ways in which language dissolves through sonic expression.

Organized by Martha Joseph, The Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Assistant Curator of Media and Performance, with May Makki, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance. Performances produced by Lizzie Gorfaine, Associate Director and Producer, with Nora Chellew, Assistant Performance Coordinator, Performance and Live Programs

Major support for the exhibition is provided by the Sarah Arison Endowment Fund for Performance and by the Wallis Annenberg Director’s Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art.

Generous funding is provided by The Young Patrons Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

Press Kit


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Portrait of Nedjra Manning and Shala Miller, lead vocalist in Sable Elyse Smith’s If you unfolded us, 2024. Photo: Naima Green

Portrait of Shala Miller, lead vocalist in Sable Elyse Smith’s If you unfolded us, 2024. Photo: Naima Green