Ilana Harris-Babou uses music videos, cooking shows and home improvement television as material in an abject exploration of the American Dream. She works primarily in ceramic sculpture and video installation and frames messy scenes with studio lighting and HD video in order to ask questions about intimacy, violence and consumption.
Harris-Babou’s work is interdisciplinary, spanning sculpture and installation, but grounded in the practice of video. She references the language of cooking shows, music videos and home improvement television; using the aspirational tropes of popular culture as a trojan horse to get into the viewer's line of sight. Once seen, the work distorts and distends the abject failures of material desire. Harris-Babou uses humor as a means to digest painful realities. Her videos reference these genres to confront the expectations of the american dream, mining the ever unreliable notion that hard work will lead to upward mobility and economic freedom.
She has exhibited throughout the US and Europe, with solo exhibitions at The Museum of Arts & Design in New York and Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Other venues include: the de Young museum in San Francisco, Abrons Art Center in New York, the Zuckerman Museum of Art in Kennesaw, Georgia, Le Doc in Paris, France, the Jewish Museum in New York, & SculptureCenter in Long Island City. She has forthcoming solo projects with Larrie and Recess Art in New York.
Harris-Babou has received awards from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, The New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship Program, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Siragusa Family Foundation. She previously taught in the Sculpture + Extended Media department at Virginia Commonwealth University as a Fountainhead Fellow and is currently a Visiting Artist at Williams College in Massachusetts. Harris-Babou is a visiting faculty member at Bennington for spring 2018.