Ayanah Moor

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Ayanah Moor
Norfolk, Virginia
OccupationConceptual artist, professor

Ayanah Moor (born 1973, Norfolk, Virginia, United States) is an American conceptual artist working in print, video, mixed media, and performance.[1][2] Her work addresses contemporary popular culture by interrogating identity and vernacular aesthetics.[3][4] She appropriates and revises existing material to invert and expand meaning.[5] "My work explores the way popular culture is an articulation of our desires, our fears, our fantasies," Moor has explained.[6] "I think I have always been sensitive to the need to self-define, because black people in America have historically been affected by the ways in which others have defined them. For me, to revise: is to act upon a history. It is both an acknowledgement of history, a critique of it, and an alternative view. I am intrigued by the social constructs of race, just as I am intrigued by gender and sexuality. In my work I often play upon notions that we think of as fixed, to invite new definitions."[7]

Moor is currently an Associate Professor in the department of Printmedia, at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL [2014–present].[8] Her prior appointment was at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA [2014-07 Associate Professor of Art and 2007-01 Assistant Professor of Art].[6] She is a visual artist whose works center on hip-hop culture, American politics, black vernacular and gender performance.[9]

With regards to her role as an educator, Moor “would like young artists to trust their own voice more, and not look for their work to be praised by their elders as much. Sometimes it’s disheartening to hear students say they don’t know what to think about something, and always looking for a ‘right’ answer. I want younger artists to recognize their value, and express themselves accordingly“.[10]


Moor received an MFA in printmaking from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 1998 and a BFA in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia in 1995.

Selected projects[edit]

  • Flow [2015]: Flow is a collaboration piece with Moor and Jasmine Hearn. The piece is a performance artwork that translates drawing into sound and sound into movement. Flow is a response to the 1982 collaboration of Bill T. Jones and Keith Haring, Long Distance.[11]
  • Thanks For The Race [2014]: Thanks For The Race (with various participants), performance work incorporating wood, mats, rocks; ACRE Residency, Steuben, WI
  • Queer & Brown in Steeltown [2013-12]: (collaboration with Raquel Rodriguez) podcast & blog project [12]
  • The Pittsburgh Passion Project, Independent Women's Football League [2009]: Pittsburgh, PA [13]
  • Still [2006]: "Still" is a series of photographs that address how women are represented in contemporary rap music videos[14][15]


In 2015 Ayanah Moor received a Hyde Park Art Center Jackman Goldwasser Residency, Chicago, IL.[16] In 2014 she received The Pittsburgh Foundation, Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Award ($7,500).[17] In 2011 she was awarded a STUDIO for Creative Inquiry fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University.[1] In 2011 The Pittsburgh Foundation awarded Moor an Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Award. In 2003 she received a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation—Creative Fellowship Award and The Pittsburgh Foundation, Artist Award, Pittsburgh, PA.[18] In 2002 Moor was awarded a Berkman Faculty Development Fund Grant, Carnegie Mellon University.

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2013 Ayanah Moor, Welch Galleries, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA [19]
  • 2012 New Drawings, Braddock Carnegie Library, Braddock, PA
  • 2011 Shift : Cambio, Poliglota Room, Proyecto ‘ace, Buenos Aires, Argentina [20]
  • 2011 Good News, 707 Penn Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA [21]
  • 2009 Souljah Sotomayor, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI
  • 2007 (W)RAPPER, Kipp Gallery, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
  • 2007 Our Radio is Bigger than Yours, Rice Gallery, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD
  • 2006 Still, Jewett Art Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
  • 2006 Still, John Hope Franklin Center, Duke University, Durham, NC
  • 2005 Ayanah Moor, A+D 11th Street Gallery, Columbia College, Chicago, IL
  • 2003 A to Z Like Me, Anchor Graphics, Chicago, IL
  • 2003 Recent Work, Women's Studio Workshop Gallery, Rosendale, NY

Group exhibitions[edit]

  • 2015 Drawn from the McClung Museum, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN [22]
  • 2015 Performing Blackness :: Performing Whiteness, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA
  • 2014 Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY
  • 2014 Renderings: New Narratives and Reinterpretations, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
  • 2013 Trace & Gestures, Greymatter Gallery, Southern Graphics Council Conference, Milwaukee, WI King Family Exhibition Space, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO Proyecto ‘Ace, Dialogo Space/Central Hall, Buenos Aires, Argentina Fine Arts Center Gallery, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL Richmond Center for Visual Art, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
  • 2012 Agency of Unrealized Projects (AUP), daadgalerie, Berlin, Germany
  • 2012 Proof, Papakura Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand 2012 Feminist and... The Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2012 What do you mean, we? Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2011 My Mythos, Fe Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA 2011 Oil & Water, Snowhite Gallery, Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2011 Gertrude's LOT, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA 2011 Eve, Subliminal Projects Gallery, Echo Park, CA
  • 2010 Seeing Voices: The Visual Voice, Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, Camden, NJ
  • 2009 Transfer Lounge, Forja ArteContemporaneo, Valencia, Spain
  • 2009 Transfer Lounge, SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2009 Reclaim, Renew, Remix, August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2008 Perfect with Pixel, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
  • 2008 First Person Video, Wexner Center for the Arts, The Box, Columbus, OH
  • 2008 Objetivos Moviles/Moving Targets, print media performance, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2008 From Taboo to Icon: Africanist Turnabout, Ice Box Project Space, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2007 First Person Video, Van Brunt Gallery, Beacon, NY
  • 2006 In To My Self, SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2005 From Hip Hop to Coal Funk, (with Phillip Robinson) Indianapolis Art Center, IN
  • 2005 Into the Light, Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA
  • 2005-04 9x9: New Prints by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation's Creative Fellows, Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond Museums, Richmond, VA Rutgers Center for Innovative Printmaking, New Brunswick, NJ Artist Image Resource, Pittsburgh, PA The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA Visual Arts Center, Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth, VA

Permanent collections[edit]

Ayanah Moor has work in the following collections: Soho House Art Collection, 76 Dean Street, London, UK, Milton and Nancy Washington, Pittsburgh, PA, Proyecto ‘ace, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Agency of Unrealized Projects, e-flux and Serpentine Gallery, London, UK, Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA, The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Baltimore, MD, Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA, Foreland Street Studio Archives, Pittsburgh, PA, EGRESS Press and Research Archives, Edinboro, PA, Blue Mountain Center, Blue Mountain Lake, NY Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, PA, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Selected artist talks and panels[edit]

  • 2014 Afrosurrealism & Afrofuturism in Wangechi Mutu and Contemporary Black Art, panelist, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston, IL
  • 2014 Modes of Address: intersections of queerness and feminism in black art, Black Artists Retreat, panelist, Chicago, IL [23]
  • 2014 ACRE Residency, visiting artist talk, Steuben, WI
  • 2014 Creative Mornings: Pittsburgh, featured speaker, The Kaufmann Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2013 Warhol Voices, Queer & Brown in Steeltown (collaboration with Raquel Rodriguez), artist talk, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2013 Apartment Talks: 2013 Carnegie International, presenter, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2013 Southern Graphics Council Conference, Voices of Silence, presenter, Milwaukee, WI
  • 2012 My People Film Series, panelist, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2012 ArtLab, Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2012 Oberlin College, Advanced Media Projects, visiting artist, Oberlin, OH
  • 2012 Western Michigan University, School of Art, visiting artist/lecture, Kalamazoo, MI [24]
  • 2012 Auckland University of Technology, visiting artist/lecture, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2011 Contemporalities: Keywords for the Present, Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Conference, presenter, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2010 New Hazlett Theater, CityLIVE!31, Sports & Ethics, panelist, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2010 University of Minnesota, Art and Violence, presenter, Frames of Violence Symposium, MN
  • 2010 Rutgers-Camden, The State University of New Jersey, Visual Ventriloquism, presenter, Seeing Voices: The Visual Voice Symposium, Camden, NJ
  • 2008 Spaces Gallery, Bi-Lingual, panel chair, Cleveland, OH
  • 2008 Invisible Whiteness and Colored Display, blog essay/online Bi-Lingual project
  • 2008 Carnegie Museum of Art, From Pittsburgh to Mars: Artists Gallery Talk, Carnegie International, (with Andrew Johnson), Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2008 Carnegie Museum of Art, Thomas Hirschhorn: Dialogue with High School Students, artist talk, Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2008 Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center, Synergy Festival, artist lecture, Midland, PA
  • 2008 New Hazlett Theatre, Pittsburgh's Creative Community Online, presenter, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2008 Lehigh University, Gender and Sexuality in the US and Cuba, presenter, El Proyecto/The Project, Hip Hop Conference, Bethlehem, PA
  • 2007 University of Tennessee, visiting artist/lecture, Knoxville, TN
  • 2007 Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Art Department, lecture, Indiana, PA
  • 2007 Southern Graphics Council Conference, Printmaking in a Post, Post, Post Print World, presenter, Kansas City, MO
  • 2006 Temple University, African Impressions/Contemporary Art Symposium, Mining History for African Voices, presenter, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2006 Duke University, Black Popular Culture Seminar, lecture, Durham, NC
  • 2006 John Hope Franklin Center, lecture, Durham, NC
  • 2006 University of Wisconsin Madison, Southern Graphics Council Conference, How Do My Genes Fit? panelist, Madison, WI
  • 2005 Indianapolis Art Center, From Hip Hop to Coal Funk, panelist, Indianapolis, IN
  • 2005 University of Connecticut, Graduate Seminar, lecture, Storrs, CT
  • 2005 Youngstown State University, Senior Seminar, lecture, Youngstown, PA
  • 2005 Columbia College Chicago, State of Black Art, panelist, Chicago, IL
  • 2005 Columbia College Chicago, exhibition lecture, Chicago, IL


Selected reviews and mentions in print[edit]

  • 2015 Charles Schultz, Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art, The Brooklyn Rail
  • 2014 Lauren Haynes, Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art, catalogue, The Studio Museum in Harlem [26]
  • 2014 Michael Velliquette, Friend of a Friend, catalogue, Lovey Town Exhibition Series: Vol. 2
  • 2013 Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers and Tina Kukielski, Carnegie International, catalogue, Carnegie Museum of Art
  • 2013 Ytasha L. Womack, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi And Fantasy Culture, Chicago Review Press
  • 2013 Stephanie Cash, Review: Ayanah Moor's small show at GSU packs big punch as meditation on meaning of race, art; ArtsATL
  • 2013 Alisia Chase, The Best “Set of Politics” Humankind Has Known Thus Far, Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, January/February
  • 2012 Bruce E. Phillips, What do you mean, we? catalogue, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts
  • 2012 Kilolo Luckett, Art and the Community, Next Level, Edition 22, Next Level Projects Ltd
  • 2011 Dan Byers, Eric Shiner, Astria Suparak, Adam Welch, Pittsburgh Biennial, catalogue, The Andy Warhol Museum, Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon Unviversity, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
  • 2011 Nicole R. Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality and Blackness, The University of Chicago Press
  • 2009 Terry Smith, What Is Contemporary Art? The University of Chicago Press
  • 2009 Lucy Leitner, Wait Problems, Pittsburgh City Paper
  • 2008 Ayanah Moor, Still, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, Vol. 8, No. 1, Indiana University Press
  • 2008 Janell Hobson and R. Dianne Bartow, Representin’: Women, Hip Hop and Popular Music, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, Vol. 8, No. 1, Indiana University Press
  • 2007 Gwendolyn Pough. “What It Do, Shorty?: Women, Hip Hop, and a Feminist Agenda.” Black Women, Gender, and Families, Vol. 1, No. 2, University of Illinois Press
  • 2007 Roopa Singh, Art and Anarchism Thrive Together, wiretapmag.org
  • 2007 Gwendolyn Pough, Homegirls Make Some Noise: A Hip Hop Feminism Anthology, Parker Publishing
  • 2007 Kelsey Volkmann, Artist satirizes how big business markets ‘urban’ without the culture, Baltimore Examiner, Art and Life
  • 2007 Nicole Belanger, ‘Urban’ renewal: Artist to share vision of popular culture, Gazette.Net
  • 2006 Natalie Hopkinson and Natalie Moore, Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip Hop Generation, Cleis Press
  • 2006 Ross Nugent, Video Critique Rewound, Pittsburgh City Paper
  • 2006 Gregory Knepp, Mirror, Mirror, Pittsburgh City Paper
  • 2006 African American Visual Artists Database, Department of Visual and Critical Studies, Boston Museum School, www.aavad.com
  • 2006 Alexis Gumbs, ‘Fixing Diaspora: Ayanah Moor’s Still or Hip Hop Heart Stop’ Mays-Mellon Conference presentation, Barnard College
  • 2006 Terence E. Smith, ‘Contemporary Art and Contemporaneity’ Critical Inquiry, volume 32, University of Chicago Press
  • 2005 Sandy Mazza, ‘Representin Ayanah Moor’ Art Matters
  • 2005 William Pym, ‘Philadelphia: Critics Picks-Ayanah Moor’ ARTFORUM.com
  • 2005 Donna Williams Vance, ‘Hip Hop’s Feminine Image’ Philadelphia Daily News Ayanah Moor - Resume Page 5 of 5 CURATORIAL PROJECTS/ JURIES

Selected curatorial projects[edit]

  • 2013 On Paper, Fieldwork: Contemporary Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA ; Organized, curated and installed exhibition of national artists
  • 2008 Pittsburgh Creativity Project, Studio for Creative Inquiry, Pittsburgh, PA; Advisory Board member and grants project consultant
  • 2006 August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Pittsburgh, PA; Programming Committee Member for exhibition design planning
  • 2005 Pittsburgh Hip Hop Film Festival: The Scene Not Heard, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, Homewood Library, Shadow Lounge, Pittsburgh, PA; Artistic Director of 5-day film festival devoted to progressive hip hop films; Co-organizer of panel-led community dialogue; Co-author of grant awarded by Pittsburgh Foundation


  1. ^ a b "Ayanah Moor". STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Ayanah Moor — in the beginning, sometimes i left messages in the street". Messagesinthestreet.com. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Moor, Ayanah". Aavad.com. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Ayanah Moor - Women's Studio Workshop : Women's Studio Workshop". Wsworkshop.org. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Ayanah Moor | Artist | CreativeMornings/PGH". Creativemornings.com. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Ayanah Moor - Carnegie Mellon University | CMU". Cmu.edu. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  7. ^ Matsunami, Chanel (21 September 2013). "GrapevineInk: Interview with Ayanah Moor". Grapevineink.blogspot.com. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  8. ^ "SAIC - Ayanah Moor - School of the Art Institute of Chicago". Saic.edu. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Ayanah Moor Page". Mana Contemporary Chicago. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Artist in residence Ayanah Moor puts on first exhibit at Georgia State - The Signal". Georgiastatesignal.com. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Access: Ayanah Moor + Jasmine Hearn present FLOW | UChicago Arts | The University of Chicago". Arts.uchicago.edu. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Voices Gallery Talk: Queer, Brown and in Steeltown with Rachel Rodrigez and Ayanah Moor". warhol. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Pittsburgh Passion Project, (Mistaken ID) - Ayanah Moor". E-flux.com. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Project MUSE - Still". Muse.jhu.edu. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Ayanah Moor - Still - Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism 8:1". Researchgate.net. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  16. ^ "The Jackman Goldwasser Residency - Current Residents - Ayanah Moor - Hyde Park Art Center". Hydeparkart.org. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  17. ^ "Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Program". The Pittsburgh Foundation. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Advancing Black Arts Fund first grants". The Pittsburgh Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  19. ^ "Review: Ayanah Moor's small show at GSU packs big punch as meditation on meaning of race, art". ArtsATL. 28 March 2013. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  20. ^ "Shift". Proyectoace.org. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  21. ^ Veronica Corpuz. "Ayanah Moor: Good News on Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Pressroom". Pressroom.trustarts.org. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Drawn From the McClung Museum | McClung Museum". Mcclungmuseum.utk.edu. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  23. ^ "SAIC - Printmedia: Recent Accomplishments - School of the Art Institute of Chicago". Saic.edu. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  24. ^ "Visiting Artist: Ayanah Moor | Frostic School of Art | Western Michigan University". Wmich.edu. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  25. ^ "Project MUSE". Muse.jhu.edu. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  26. ^ "Speaking of People | The Studio Museum in Harlem". Studiomuseum.org. 8 March 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.