Abigail DeVille
June 11, 2023

Complete playlist below; tracks in yellow were cut for time.

  1. Door to the Cosmos, Sun Ra and His Arkestra, 1979
  2. Black Hole Sun, Soundgarten, 1994
  3. Mazzafrique, Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, 2004
  4. Give Me the Night, George Benson, 1980
  5. Step into a World (Rapture’s Delight), KRS-One, 1997
  6. La Negra Tiene Tumbao, Celia Cruz, 2001
  7. The Beautiful Ones, Prince, 1984
  8. Romantic Call (feat. Yo-Yo), Petra, 1993
  9. You Will Never Find, In Essence, 2000
  10. Be Faithful, Fatman Scoop, The Brooklyn Clan, 2003
  11. Juicy, The Notorious B. I. G., 1994
  12. Renee, Lost Boyz, 1996
  13. UMI Says, Mos Def, 1999
  14. Hope to See You, the HawtPlates, 2020
  15. If 6 Was 9, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967
  16. Bold as Love, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967
  17. Wisdom Eye, Alice Coltrane, 1976

Who but Abigail DeVille would have the moxy to put Sun Ra and Black Hole Sun back-to-back at the top of a mixtape? Her irreverent but earnest sensibility permeates both her work and her musical selections.

Abigail is best known for her installations of found objects, mannequins, artifacts, and ephemera which serve as site-specific historical critiques, homages, and archives. She spent her early years growing up in a strict, conservative family in the Bronx and that borough provides the horizon line for her show Bronx Heavens at the Bronx Museum. Including work from the past 10+ years, the extraordinary scope of DeVille’s work is possible because of her emphasis on the interconnectedness of all things, people, matter, history, time, everything—from soot to stardust. We talk about her piece Light of Freedom, a reimagining of the one held up by the Statue of Liberty for a post-COVID, post-George Floyd America.

Abigail talks about her family and how they shaped her—particularly her grandmother, whose fierce insistence on doing things her own way she shares with her granddaughter. This sense of a thread, through history and relationships but also through flesh and bones and time and space, winds its way through DeVille’s work. She is engaged in a project of salvage that has roots in science fiction, religion, hip hop, and dancehall. She is, somehow, able to look into a midden and reveal a cosmos.

Abigail’s show Bronx Heavens is on view at the Bronx Museum of the Arts through June 18th, and her show In the fullness of time, the heart speaks truths too deep for utterance, but a star remembers is on view at JTT through June 24th, 2023.

Abigail DeVille (b.1981, New York, NY) is known for her site-specific installations, sculptures and performances that conjure vast universes from discarded objects and fragmented archives. In a seemingly boundless practice that transcends codified space, DeVille often sites her dense assemblages anywhere between museums, theaters, public parks and city streets. By honoring and amplifying the memory of those that once used the everyday components preserved in her work, DeVille urges a reconsideration of what constitutes a historical record and who contributes. ︎

Pictured: Baby Blu (the cat's eye nebula), 2023 from DeVille’s show at JTT, In the fullness of time, the heart speaks truths too deep for utterance, but a star remembers, on view from May 18 - June 24, 2023