Definitely needs an attitude adjustment. Courtesy of SAM

Every two years since 2009, the Seattle Art Museum has awarded the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize to an early-career black artist who “demonstrates artistic commitment and great promise.” The winner receives $10,000 in unrestricted funds as well as a solo exhibition in the museum’s Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence gallery. In 2021, the prize was awarded to a multimedia artist based in Los Angeles Lauren Halseywhose work is bright, colorful and often architectural.

Halsey brings together the ancient and the contemporary to celebrate black culture for her show at SAM. Around the edges of the gallery are large gypsum relief panels that feature “ancient Egyptian queens, pharaohs and pyramids” as well as “black culture people and slogans” from his neighborhood of South Central LA It’s all in the form of carvings on a modern temple. Right in the middle of the show is a huge sculpture of stacked boxes with hand-painted, reflective, rainbow-colored panels that play on the businesses or advertisements seen in his neighborhood: “Attitude Adjusta’s”, “Finger Wave Specialist “, “Jesus also saves the gangsters!” Although I’ve been a Halsey fan for a while, I haven’t had a chance to see this work in person myself, but I’ll report back soon…

Lauren Halsey at the Seattle Art Museum is through July 17. See more choices from the stranger here.