Feb 26–May 9, 2021

Jessica Vaughn: Our Primary Focus Is to Be Successful

Jessica Vaughn, still from Our Primary Focus Is to Be Successful, 2019, 2-channel, color digital video installation, sound, loop, 7 minutes, 37 seconds. Courtesy of the artist and Martos Gallery.

Jessica Vaughn examines the everyday systems that dictate our understanding of labor, space, and inclusion. With a studio process that is rooted in research, Vaughn’s multidisciplinary approach encompasses working with discarded and mass-produced materials to create artworks and installations that convey complex histories of place, production, and use. Our Primary Focus Is To Be Successful presents new and recent works that mines the histories and contradictions of late 20th and 21st century work culture, social policies, minimalism, labor practices, and modular architecture’s promise of malleability, compliance, and universality — provisions that bid for increased efficiency and productivity at the expense of visibility for Black workers and workers of color.

Employee training videos, career exploration tools, occupational government reports, and workplace lighting fixtures are materials for new and recent photographs, sculptures, paintings and video, that anchor Vaughn’s ongoing series of floor sculptures inclusive of die-cut fabric remnants of transportation upholstery procured from assembly line floors. Our Primary Focus Is To Be Successful considers the seemingly invisible infrastructures that shape our lives as workers.


Jessica Vaughn: Our Primary Focus Is to be Successful is organized by Meg Onli, Andrea B. Laprote Associate Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication that will be released in 2021.