Toby's Prize: Sondra Perry

A. Will Brown, Assistant Curator

April 27, 2019August 11, 2019

As the inaugural recipient of Toby’s Prize—a biennial award made possible by Toby Devan Lewis, philanthropist and a founding board member of moCa Cleveland—Sondra Perry (1986, Perth Amboy, NJ) will have her first solo exhibition in a United States museum at moCa Cleveland in the spring of 2019. An emerging and already influential voice in contemporary art, Sondra Perry’s work, which takes shape across many forms, in the artist's words revolves around: “how blackness shifts, morphs, and embodies technology to combat oppression and surveillance throughout the diaspora.” Through the use of digital tools, software, images and videos found online, and post-production technical motifs, the artist reflects on black American experience and the use of digital technology as an expression of power and a tool for building collectivity.

Perry’s exhibition  will include a new video as well as a new large-scale sculptural workstation installation—a unique and ongoing form she has explored in her practice. These new works will focus on the stresses and anxieties felt by African Americans in workplaces and acknowledge some of the defense mechanisms by which minority workers protect themselves.

This, and all forthcoming Toby’s Prize exhibitions, will include a body of new work made for presentation at moCa Cleveland.

Sondra Perry earned her MFA from Columbia University (2015) and a BFA from Alfred University (2012). In 2017, she was awarded the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize from the Seattle Art Museum, which culminated in the exhibition, Eclogue for[in]HABITABILITY. Perry’s solo exhibitions include, Typhoon coming on, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, UK (2018); Chromatic Saturation, Disjecta, Portlan, OR (2018); Sondra Perry: flesh out, Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo, NY (2017); and Resident Evil , The Kitchen, New York (2016). Selected group exhibitions include, The Body Electric, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2018); Family Pictures, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH (2018); Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today , Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA (2018); We Just Fit, You and I , Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge, MA (2017); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art , Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn (2016); and Greater New York , MoMA PS1, Long Island City (2015). Spanning the last five years, Perry has screened her videos and presented talks at institutions including the Vera List Center at The New School, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and The Artists’s Institute, New York, among others.