Simone Leigh’s Monumental Bronze Sculpture “Satellite” Is Installed at the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building of the MFAH

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the first U.S. museum to acquire and install for permanent display this now-iconic work by the influential American artist. 

HOUSTON—December 4, 2023—Simone Leigh’s towering, 24-foot-high bronze Satellite (2022) has been installed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, near the entry plaza of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building for modern and contemporary art.

The MFAH is the first U.S. museum to acquire and install this monumental bronze in a permanent display. The first edition of Satellite was the centerpiece of Leigh’s project for the American Pavilion of the 59th Venice Biennale last year; Houston’s example is the second edition of this seminal work.

Satellite reflects forms found in the traditional D’mba (or nimba) headdresses created by the Baga peoples of Guinea, the ceremonial ladles of the Dan peoples, and vernacular traditions across the African Diaspora. With its evocations of maternity and dignity, the sculpture expresses the artist’s intent to honor the historically undervalued labor—both physical and intellectual—of Black women. “In order to tell the truth,” Leigh has stated, “you need to invent what might be missing from the archive, to collapse time, to concern yourself with issues of scale, to formally move things around in a way that reveals something more true than fact.”

Commented Gary Tinterow, Director and Margaret Alkek Williams Chair of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: “I am certain that this powerful work will become an iconic presence in front of the Kinder Building. It is an honor to be the first U.S. museum to acquire Satellite and install it for permanent display, and we are thrilled to have Simone Leigh represented at the Sarofim Campus, where her extraordinary work is in the company of recent monumental works by Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Byung Hoon Choi, Ólafur Elíasson, and Cristina Iglesias.”

About Simone Leigh
Over the past two decades, Simone Leigh’s work in video, installation and ceramic and bronze sculpture has explored ideas of race, beauty, and community in visual and material culture. Her art addresses a broad range of historical periods, geographies, and traditions, with specific references to vernacular and hand-made processes from across the African diaspora.

Leigh (born Chicago, 1967) is the subject of a nationally touring retrospective, organized by the ICA Boston for the Venice Biennale and currently at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. She has also been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2019); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Studio Museum, Harlem in Marcus Garvey Park, New York (2016); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (with Chitra Ganesh, 2016); the New Museum, New York (2016); Creative Time and Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn (2014); and the Kitchen, New York (2014). Leigh has been included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2019); 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2018); New Museum, New York (2017); MoMA PS1 (2015); and Dak’ Art 11th Biennale of Contemporary African Art, Dakar, Senegal (2014). Her monumental sculpture Brick House was installed on the High Line Plinth, New York City, from 2019 to 2021. In addition to Satellite at the MFAH, her work is also in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; and ICA/Boston, among others.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Spanning 14 acres in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the Fayez S. Sarofim Campus of the MFAH comprises the Audrey Jones Beck Building, the Caroline Wiess Law Building, the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, and the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden. Nearby, two house museums—Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, and Rienzi—present collections of American and European decorative arts. The MFAH is also home to the Glassell School of Art, with its Core Residency Program and Junior and Studio schools; and the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), a leading research institute for 20th-century Latin American and Latino art.

Media Contact
Melanie Fahey, Senior Publicist | 713.800.5345