Image caption: Ming Smith, Acid Rain (Mercy, Mercy Me, Marvin Gaye), 1977. Archival pigment print, 24 x 36 inches. Courtesy Ming Smith Studio.

Past Exhibition

Ming Smith: Feeling the Future

May 26, 2023 - October 1, 2023

, 2023

Brown Foundation Gallery


Ming Smith: Feeling the Future is a captivating exploration of the artist's groundbreaking career, marking her first solo exhibition at a major institution.

Spanning from the 1970s to the present, the exhibit showcases Smith's diverse artistic expressions rooted in portraiture, illuminating the pulse of Black life in the United States. Through a rich tapestry of works, the exhibition delves into Afrofuturism, Black cultural expression, and societal introspection, offering a guided tour of unperceived moments captured by one of her generation's most profoundly gifted artists.

Drawn from the full complexity of Smith’s oeuvre, Feeling the Future places works from the artist’s five-decades of creation in conversation with one another, and the cultural movements she witnessed and participated in. Exploring themes such as Afrofuturism, Black cultural expression, representation and social examination, the exhibition offers a guided tour into unperceived moments of life as captured by one of the most profoundly gifted artists of her generation. 

Feeling the Future includes Smith’s seminal photographic images, as well as her more recent work across media. Smith’s early images vibrate with the energy of her subjects—in carefully composed images, often developed or processed using techniques such as frame masking, hand-tinting, and superimposition, she blurs boundaries between the ethereal, tangible, and routine. Smith’s work uniquely embraces her subjects aesthetically and intellectually, through a style that is technically experimental and pointedly focused.


Ming Smith: Feeling the Future is organized by Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and curated by James E. Bartlett. The exhibition was conceived by Janice Bond.


Major support for Ming Smith: Feeling the Future is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by Art Dealers Association of America Foundation.

Ming Smith: Feeling the Future has been made possible by the patrons, benefactors, and donors to CAMH’s Major Exhibition Fund: Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Sissy and Denny Kempner, Dillon Kyle and Sam Lasseter, MD Anderson Foundation, Rea Charitable Trust, The Sarofim Foundation, The Stolbun Family, Louisa Stude Sarofim, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

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Large Print Labels (English)
Large Print Labels (Spanish)

Educational Materials