Turner Carroll Gallery is thrilled to announce its representation of artist Caledonia Curry, whose work appears under the name Swoon. Swoon is widely known as the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art, and she has gone on to energize and inspire an entire generation of female street artists. Her work can be found on the sides of buildings worldwide and installed in prominent institutions such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Tate Modern, and the São Paulo Museum of Art. Her upcoming installations and exhibitions include Seven Contemplations at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, and The Heart Lives through the Hands at Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh.
As is the case with its most successful artist relationships, Turner Carroll and Swoon were introduced by another artist Turner Carroll represents: Judy Chicago. Chicago and Swoon knew each other from a planned two-person exhibition in Los Angeles, and found themselves reconnected in 2014 when their exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum opened on the same night. In 2020, the two collaborated with Serpentine Galleries in London, Jane Fonda, Greenpeace, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist on the international creative campaign #CreateArtForEarth. When Chicago and Turner Carroll Gallery co-curated Turner Carroll’s resulting Solstice: Create Art For Earth exhibition Chicago described Swoon as an artist who “draws like an angel” and a human being who shares our mutual commitment to social justice and human rights. Swoon created a non-profit Heliotrope Foundation to support her core social endeavors throughout the world.
Swoon says that Judy Chicago later “read an article about street art and most of the young women street artists cited me as their first inspiration. At that moment I think Judy recognized a radical daughter in me, both in that she had been one of the artists who made space for me to exist as I do, and she had also inspired a generation of young women in the way that she saw these young women being inspired by me. The other day I was telling her I was going to write a mid life memoir, and how her memoirs were giving me the courage to do so, and she passed on…advice…Anais Nin [had given Judy when she started writing her memoir], I got totally covered in goose bumps. It felt like the Buddhist tradition where the teachings have to get passed on through ‘direct transmission’ from teacher to student, I was reminded again what an honor it is to be in the forcefield of Judy’s wisdom.”
Swoon’s overarching aim is always to create art that transports audiences while simultaneously shedding light on pressing social and environmental issues. Like Chicago, Swoon has sought throughout her career to claim space for women in the still male-dominated art world, and to elevate the voices and representation of women artists in the conversation of contemporary art. “Western art has had hundreds of years to witness male versions of the world,” she says, “there is something deeply important in allowing a female perspective to really flourish…and then stepping back later and seeing what was significant, what was added, what was deepened by bringing more people into the conversation.” She says, “when I draw or make art, I’m peering down into the depths of myself…the kind of liminal spaces of consciousness…It’s always been my hope that some glimmer of that gets transmitted.” Swoon’s work marries the whimsical to the grounded, often weaving in slivers of fairy-tales, scraps of myth, and a recurring motif of the sacred feminine. Tendrils of her own family history—and a legacy of her parents’ struggles with addiction and substance abuse—recur throughout her work. She is an incredible role model for survival, healing, and finding beauty in a troubled world.
We extend a warm welcome to Swoon, where she joins our roster of other powerhouse women artists, including Judy Chicago, Hung Liu, and Raphaëlle Goethals, and invite you to have the first opportunity to collect her work with this exclusive first look at works coming in from her studio.
“I started this work out of a desire to contribute, and a desire for the tools of creativity to be used to make people’s lives better in tangible ways.” – Swoon