Sharon Hayes is an artist who uses video, performance, sound, and public sculpture to expose specific intersections between history, politics, and speech, to unspool reductive historical narratives and to re-ignite dormant pathways through which counter-understandings of the contemporary political condition can be formed. In her work, she lingers in the grammars–linguistic, affective, and sonic–through which political resistance appears. These examinations are central to her work: from my earliest video installation in 2003, Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) Screeds #13, 16, 20 & 29, in which I re-speak of each of the four audio tapes made by Patty Hearst and the SLA during her kidnapping, to my most recent work in 2019, Ricerche: two, an extended interview with 23 members of two women’s tackle football teams. RIcerche: two is one of five videos that examine how gender, sexuality and sex are deployed in the current political crisis in the United States. Hayes’ practice is in conversation and acts in collective force and resonance with the heterogeneous field of actions, voices and practices that resist normative behaviors, complicit and unjust social agreements, and proscriptive temporalities to open new ways of being together in the world.
Her work sustains a distinct and vital commitment to performance and to collaboration and is devoted to the radical possibilities of non-normative occupation of public space and in holding public space as a site for unpredictable and unregulated encounters. Hayes has had numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York (2014), the Tanya Leighton Gallery in Berlin (2013), the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2012), and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid (2012). Her work has also been exhibited at the Venice Biennale (2013), the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She is the recipient of many awards and grants, including a Pew Fellowship (2016), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2014), the Alpert Award in Visual Arts (2013), an Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2013), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (2007). She currently teaches in the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.