“Sometimes in life you are born feeling like a bit of an outsider. When that happens you realize that you have to kind of cut your own path in life”
Born Caledonia Curry, Swoon is a famous Brooklyn-based street and installation artist, widely known as the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art. Although she started her career in the world of street art, she quickly leapfrogged to the attention of gallerists and museum curators, which let her expand her impressive ideas to installation and performance art.
Swoon’s art can be described as immediately striking and culturally provocative, arguably exhibiting a more conceptual take on modern street art. At the start of her street art career, her artworks were characterized by wheatpaste prints and cutouts of human figures. Her intricate paper-cut portraits and cityscapes, often stuck to walls in hardscrabble places, are meant to disintegrate in place, a refrain to the life around them. As an artist always looking to reach into new areas of creativity, Swoon started branching out of her comfort, which allowed the transition to galleries and museums. With her amazing installation Thalassa (the primeval spirit of the sea found in Greek mythology) at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Swoon caught the attention of the mainstream fine art world in a big way. Since then, Swoon has had more than twenty solo exhibitions, her street work has decorated cities around the world and her essence has transcended to the most important galleries in the world, and her works can be admired in museums such as MoMA, Tate Gallery, Detroit Institue of Arts, Novo Foundation and MoMA PS1 (permanent site-specific installation).
Meanwhile, her socially-minded work has focused on building cultural hubs for distant artistically welcoming communities. Nowadays, Swoon's practice has expanded to the rebuilding of communities and humanizing today’s most pressing social and environmental issues through art. Swoon started The Heliotrope Foundation to help communities respond and heal after natural disasters and other urgent social crises. Her other community-based endeavors include collaborating on musical architecture in New Orleans and a neighborhood revitalization project in North Braddock.
Through the freedom and openness of her art, Swoon is examining the relationship between people and their built environments. She has been experimenting and challenging herself for more than 20 years.