The Artsy Vanguard 2020: Tomashi Jackson

Casey Lesser
Sep 11, 2020 8:00PM

Tomashi Jackson

B. 1980, Houston. Lives and works in New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Tomashi Jackson identifies as a painter and printmaker, yet her works are often three-dimensional, made up of layers of paper, textiles, plastics, embroidery, prints, photo transfers, wood armatures, and more—all of which revolve around tight, ethically driven humanist narratives and research. Recently, she’s addressed the displacement and disenfranchisement of Black and brown communities.

For her work in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, Jackson presented three works that unfurled the stories of Black Americans who lived in Manhattan’s Seneca Village in the 19th century. The predominantly Black, middle-class neighborhood accounted for the city’s highest rates of Black property ownership at the time—before it was razed to make way for Central Park. Like much of her work, Jackson’s research-laden pieces connect with the current moment—specifically, the unjust seizures and foreclosures of Black and Latinx New Yorkers’ homes due to the Third Party Transfer (TPT) Program.

A Yale MFA grad, Jackson has been showing with Tilton Gallery in New York since 2016. After presenting her first solo show at Night Gallery in Los Angeles in January 2020, she officially joined the gallery’s roster in May. Her works are in the collections of major institutions, including the Whitney and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

This past August, ahead of her 2021 exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, Jackson projected five videos about segregation in the United States onto the institution’s façade. In her exhibition there next year, titled “Platform: Tomashi Jackson—The Land Claim,” the artist will present new paintings, videos, and installations that draw on the experiences of Latinx and BIPOC families living on Long Island’s East End. In 2021, she will also present a solo exhibition at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The Artsy Vanguard 2020

The Artsy Vanguard 2020 is our annual list of the most promising artists shaping the future of contemporary art. This year, artists are organized into two categories: Newly Emerging, which presents artists who’ve gained momentum in the past year, showing at leading institutions and galleries; and Getting Their Due, which identifies artists who have persevered for decades, yet only recently received the spotlight they deserve. Now in its third edition, the feature was developed by the Artsy staff, in collaboration with our network of international curators and art professionals. Explore more of The Artsy Vanguard 2020.

Casey Lesser
Casey Lesser is Artsy’s Director of Content.

Header and thumbnail image, from left to right: Tomashi Jackson, installation view of “Forever My Lady” at Night Gallery, 2020; Portrait of Tomashi Jackson by Awol Erizku; Tomashi Jackson, “World on Wheels (Saudia’s Color),” 2020; Tomashi Jackson, “City of Quartz (Wicker Sun),” 2020. All artwork images by Marten Elder. All images courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019