Jessica Vaughn

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Artist Statement

My task as an artist is to make sense of the networks of consumed resources, desirable space, labor, and class rooted in urban locations. My practice is the terrain where city segregation, displacement, care, material traces and residue left from everyday objects meets contemporary thinking. I begin a piece where there is a testimony of lived experience and material objects that have traces of everyday life. Guided by thinkers and authors who study urban planning, Black studies, social and cultural studies my intuition directs my material choices.

I create artworks like the piece Carpetbagger, that exist on the floor by cutting, rolling-up and collaging together materials such as used domestic carpets, building concrete, asphalt, paper and chewed gum. My photographs are often sandwiched against, on top of, or next to similar discarded materials and readymade armatures to keep these assemblages afloat against backdrops of the city. The juxtaposition of materials in my work is a reflection of experiencing the gestures of code-switching that positions Black people in urban space for economic survival.

The provisional construction of my images reflect on the psychological depth of living in cities where access to social and material capital is in flux and care of these spaces are questioned. Recently I have situated avatars made of materials found in urban spaces into landscapes that are less densely populated. While onsite I improvise scenarios in which my printed images exist. The series Exteriors points to the collapse and suspension of backdrop and postcard size images onto real landscapes to push the unreliability of the image and what it promises as a space for future usage.



Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture 2015, Skowhegan, ME

Whitney Independent Study Program 2012-2013, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

University of Pennsylvania 2011, Master of Fine Arts, MFA

Carnegie Mellon University 2006, Bachelor of Humanities and Arts, BHA


Working, Art on Armitage, Chicago, IL 2011

Toppled, University of Maryland Gallery, College Park, MD 2009



Made in Woodstock VII, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY


Harlem Postcards, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

Say It Back To Me, DiverseWorks (offsite), Houston, TX

3rd Annual AIM Biennale, Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx, NY

2015 Village Fete, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY


Itinerant Belongings, Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, PA


Come Together: Surviving Sandy Year 1, Brooklyn Rail, Brooklyn, NY

Round 39: Looking Back, Moving Forward, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX

ff Presents The Oracle, The Wand, Berlin, DE

Group Exhibition, Whitney Independent Studio Program, New York, NY


Fore, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

Do Anything, Double Break Gallery, San Diego, CA


VOX VII, Vox Popuil Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Watchwords, Cauldron Projekts, Birmingham, AL

MFA 2011 Thesis Exhibition, Ice Box, Philadelphia, PA


Rhyming the Antecedent, Addams Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

A-Game, The Park School of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD


LATITUDE, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY



Cole Fellowship Visiting Artist, Wellesley College, Wellesley MA


Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Workspace Residency, New York, NY


Artist in Residence, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY

Artist in the Marketplace, Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx, NY

DiverseWorks, Project Grant, DiverseWorks, Houston, TX


Center for Photography at Woodstock Residency, Woodstock, NY


Visiting Artist, Project Row House, Houston, TX


Exhibitions/Curatorial Fellowship, Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY


Kraus Family Foundation Award, WorldStudio AIGA Scholarship

Vermont Studio Center Residency and Full Fellowship, Johnson, VT


University of Pennsylvania Masters of Fine Arts Full Academic Fellowship


Project Grant, Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP)

Women’s Studio Workshop Fellowship, Rosendale, NY



Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, Visiting Artist Lecture


Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, Jessica Vaughn in conversation with Karen Beckman, PhD and

Louis Massiah, The Bombing of Osage Avenue

Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY, Artist Lecture


Project Row Houses, Houston, TX, Artist Lecture


University of Maryland, College Park, MD, Exhibition Lecture


Women’s Studio Workshop, Stone Ridge, NY, Artist Lecture Series, Ulster County Community College

Columbia College, Chicago, IL, Studio Lecture Series


Bui, Phong, Flam, Jack. Come Together Surviving Sandy, Year 1. Skira and Dedalus Foundation. 2015.

“Bronx Museum Showcases (and Helps) Emerging Artists.” New York Times, July 10, 2015.

Clocktower Radio, Artist in Residence Interview, May, 2015.

Center for Photography at Woodstock. Artist In Residence Video Interview. February, 2015.

Itinerant Belongings Exhibition Catalog. Cortez, Iggy, Ickes, Charlotte. Slought Foundation. November, 2014

“Project Row Houses at Twenty.” Dennis, Ryan. Studio Museum Magazine. Winter/Spring 2014.

“Project Row Houses: Recovering and Teaching Houston’s History.” Shannon, Chelsea. Golf Coast Magazine. January 17, 2014.

Curatorial Staff. November, 2013. “Jessica Vaughn, Featured Artist.” Sculpture Center Blog.

Russeth, Andrew. May 28, 2013.   “9 Things to Do in New York’s Art World Before June 2nd.” Gallerist

Merjian, Ara. Winter, 2013. “Critic’s Pick: Fore.” Artforum.

“Racial Redefinition in Progress. ‘Fore’ at Studio Museum in Harlem.” Cotter, Holland. New York Times. November 30, 2012

Lott, Jessica. November 20, 2012. “Alchemy of Inspiration ‘Fore’ward at The Studio Museum in Harlem.” Art21 Blog.

“An Artist Portfolio. 6 From Fore.” Indrisek, Scott. Modern Painters Magazine. November, 2012

FORE Exhibition Catalog. Haynes, Lauren, Keith J. Naima, Lax, Thomas. Studio Museum in Harlem. November 2012

Toppled Exhibition Catalog. Milad, Jackie. University of Maryland, Union Gallery. October 30, 2009

LATITUDE Exhibition Catalog, Lax, Thomas. Rush Arts Gallery. January 30, 2009



Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY