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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami

Hugh Hayden: Boogey Men

Nov 30, 2021 – Apr 17, 2022
Hugh Hayden: Boogey Men

“Hugh Hayden: Boogey Men” features a suite of monumental new works created for the occasion and debuting at ICA Miami. In his innovative work across mediums, Hayden creates anthropomorphic forms that explore our relationship with the natural world. Formally trained as an architect, Hayden deploys laborious processes—selecting, carving, fabricating—resulting in dynamic, surreal, and critical responses to personal experience and social and cultural issues. Renowned for his use of wood—taking disparate species and manipulating them to reveal complex histories and meanings—Hayden crafts intricate metaphors and meditations on experience and memory that question social dynamics and the ever-shifting ecosystem.

“Boogey Men” features a series of new works that contend with personal and recent political themes. For the exhibition’s eponymous centerpiece, Hayden works with scale to create iconography that merges two tools of white supremacy into one looming sculpture. The work drapes a police car in a white cover to create an anthropomorphized automobile that resembles the ominous silhouette of a hooded Klansman, making a powerful statement on the role of white supremacy in institutions.

The exhibition additionally features Roots (2021), a skeletal figure made of bald cypress trees, its surfaces proliferated with bifurcating branches. Among other references, the work cites a family tree: Hayden sourced the bald cypress trees, a species synonymous with the Gulf Coast and Southern states, from Louisiana, where his mother grew up and where he visited frequently in his youth. For Hues (2021), the artist sourced the state trees from each of the fifty states, collaging them onto a United States map to create a portrait of American identity.

Hugh Hayden (b. 1983, Dallas) lives and works in New York City. He holds an MFA from Columbia University, New York, and a bachelor of architecture from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey (2020), and White Columns, New York (2018). Hayden’s work is in the collections of the Princeton University Art Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.

“Hugh Hayden: Boogey Men” is organized by ICA Miami and curated by Alex Gartenfeld, Artistic Director. This exhibition will travel to the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston beginning June 11 through August 21, 2022.