Jessica Diamond: Wheel Of Life

a white portrait that reads O small small head beautiful brown bead pink white orb speak!

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will present the largest museum installation to date by American conceptual artist Jessica Diamond. “Wheel Of Life” will fill the Hirshhorn’s second-floor inner-circle galleries with 15 text-and-image-based artworks to highlight the inventive nature of the artist’s practice.

Diamond emerged in New York’s downtown art scene in the 1980s. Adopting language as her primary medium, the artist critiques contemporary American life, particularly commercialism, corporate culture and media. Literature also serves as a continual touchstone, with references in “Wheel Of Life” to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854), Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (1865) and James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). She will present 13 new wall drawings in dialogue with two preexisting works to reveal, in what she refers to as “poetical texts” and symbols, her meditation on spending more than 40 years as a working artist. The artist joins Laurie Anderson and Barbara Kruger in presenting text-based work made for the Museum.

Diamond’s exhibition is also the subject of a suite of Hirshhorn Eye videos embedded in the museum’s award-winning self-guiding smartphone platform. Designed to enrich “Wheel Of Life” for broad audiences, these new Hirshhorn Eye (Hi) shorts are voiced by individuals of many ages. Hi will activate the museum’s second-floor inner-circle galleries by prompting engagement with the artist’s richly coded self-reflections, inviting visitors to linger and share their reflections on @Hirshhorn.

Click here for the Accessibility Brochure

Printed copies and a braille version are available at the museum


Jessica Diamond was born in 1957 in New York City, where she continues to live and work. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1979 and a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University in 1981. Diamond has appeared in many international exhibitions including the Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France (2015); Sonsbeek 9, Arnhem, the Netherlands (2001); Aperto, Venice Biennale, Italy (1993). Solo exhibitions include El Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Seville, Spain (2011); The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada (2002); Stedelijk Museum Het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands (1999). The artist participated in Infotainment, traveling exhibition: Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL, Aspen Art Museum, CO, etc. (1985), and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City (1991). Diamond is the recipient of several awards including the National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1989, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship Award in 2000, and the Anonymous Was A Woman Award in 2004.


Related Events

For Kids