ALL FINALISTS / HUGH HAYDEN

Hugh Hayden

media
location
depicts everyday items—a table and chairs, cast-iron skillets—and transforms them in ways that provoke viewers to think deeply about the objects they live with, the history and meaning of those pieces, and what they say about class, race, and the American dream. Hayden, who trained as an architect, often crafts his pieces out of natural materials, especially wood. Born in Texas, he now lives in New York City.
Move Left
Move Right
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
America
Material: Sculpted mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) on plywood
Dimension: Overall dimensions: 43 1/8 x 80 7/8 x 80 7/8 in. (109.8 x 205.7 x 205.7 cm); Overall dimensions: Table: 35 1/2 x 40 x 40 in. (90.2 x 101.6 x 101.6 cm); Chairs: 43 1/4 x 21 x 17 1/2 in. (109.9 x 53.3 x 44.4 cm)

Hayden’s America looks like his childhood kitchen table. He crafted the sculpture reductively from large pieces of mesquite wood. Texans consider the mesquite tree invasive, despite its being native to the area. Hayden draws an analogy between the mesquite and the civil rights of Black and Brown Americans, whose sense of belonging is often questioned or challenged.

© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
The Cosby's
Material: Cast iron
Dimension: 3 skillets: 12 1/8 x 8 1/4 x 5 7/8 in (47.7 x 36 x 7 cm), 14 1/2 x 10 5/8 x 4 1/4 in (38.5 x 27.5 x 12 cm), 18 7/8 x 14 1/8 x 2 1/2 in (33 x 21 x 17 cm)

The cast-iron skillet is an essential part of Southern Black cuisine. Hayden’s “Skillets” are based on masks of West Africa, the site of abduction of many slaves. Like the masks, the skillet plays a ritualistic role in the creation of soul food, which, despite its modern association with comfort and decadence, was born out of survival. Faced with limited resources enslaved Black people creatively cooked with what was available, drawing on their knowledge of West African cuisine. These skillets are a commemoration of the labor and the influences that created the institution of Southern cuisine.

© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Huey
Material: Rattan, plywood
Dimension: 55 × 50 1/2 × 21 in. (139.7 × 128.3 × 53.3 cm)

Huey is a rattan peacock chair, a familiar furnishing from Hayden’s childhood, reimagined as the backboard of a basketball hoop. It is an homage to Black Panther co-founder Huey P. Newton’s famous 1967 portrait, which depicts him seated in one of the throne-like chairs.

© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Huey (detail)
Material: Rattan, plywood
Dimension: 55 × 50 1/2 × 21 in. (139.7 × 128.3 × 53.3 cm)
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Fruity
Material: Rattan, Gatorade
Dimension: 48 × 55 1/2 × 14 in. (121.9 × 141 × 35.6 cm)

In this series of sculptures, Hayden conflates the tediousness of weaving and its association with the domestic and "women’s work,” on one hand, with hypermasculine athletics, on the other, to underscore the conflict between fairy-tale aspirations and reservations around becoming a professional athlete.

© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Rapunzel
Material: Painted fiberboard, synthetic hair, and metal rim
Dimension: 68 × 18 7/8 × 9 3/8 in. (173 × 48 × 24 cm)
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Good Hair 3 (brainwash)
Material: Wood, nylon bristles, metal facemask
Dimension: 10 × 11 1/2 × 9 1/2 in. (25.4 × 29.2 × 24.1 cm)
© Hugh Hayden, Courtesy Lisson Gallery
The Cosby's
Material: Cast iron
Dimension: 3 skillets: 12 1/8 x 8 1/4 x 5 7/8 in (47.7 x 36 x 7 cm), 14 1/2 x 10 5/8 x 4 1/4 in (38.5 x 27.5 x 12 cm), 18 7/8 x 14 1/8 x 2 1/2 in (33 x 21 x 17 cm)

The cast-iron skillet is an essential part of Southern Black cuisine. Hayden’s “Skillets” are based on masks of West Africa, the site of abduction of many slaves. Like the masks, the skillet plays a ritualistic role in the creation of soul food, which, despite its modern association with comfort and decadence, was born out of survival. Faced with limited resources, enslaved Black people creatively cooked with what was available, drawing on their knowledge of West African cuisine. These skillets are a commemoration of the labor and the influences that created the institution of Southern cuisine.

Support for Android AR coming soon.

QR Code for the AR Experience

SEE THE WORK
IN FRONT OF YOU.

Use the QR code to launch our AR experience on your phone or tablet.

Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design