Calligraphy on folding fan by Wang Maolin

You are here

Ilana Harris-Babou: Long Con

Submitted on November 6, 2020 - 2:55pm
Ilana Harris-Babou Long Con exhibition banner


November 19, 2020 – January 16, 2021

The Jacob Lawrence Gallery is pleased to present Ilana Harris-Babou: Long Con, premiering the artist’s most recent video work, Long Con. The new video skewers the wellness industry through stories about well-known fortune tellers and health gurus, such as the Honduran healer Alfredo Darrington Bowman, aka Dr. Sebi, and Youree Dell Harris, aka Psychic Readers Network spokeswoman Miss Cleo.

Commissioned by The Black Embodiments Studio, Long Con is presented alongside two of Harris-Babou’s other recent video works: 2019’s Decision Fatigue, a parody of wellness culture that takes the form of a makeup tutorial, and 2018’s Reparation Hardware, a scathing critique of consumerism that promises absolution from the incalculable violence of slavery through handcrafted objects.

Learn about individual, no-contact viewing appointments. Note that the gallery is closed from December 23 through January 4.

COVID-19 Update

Due to restrictions recently issued by Governor Inslee to reduce the rates of COVID-19 transmission, the Jacob Lawrence Gallery will be closed to the public until further notice. Ilana Harris-Babou’s exhibition, Long Con, will remain open to the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design, and we have extended the exhibition until January 16, 2021, in the hopes that we will be able to open the exhibition to the public sometime in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, please stay tuned for exhibition walkthroughs, documentation, and conversations on the Jacob Lawrence Gallery’s social media channels: Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo.


View exhibition images on the School's SmugMug site.


The Black Embodiments Studio presented a conversation between Harris-Babou and arts writer Jessica Lynne on November 12 at 6pm. It is now available for viewing on YouTube.

About the Artist

Ilana Harris-Babou’s work is interdisciplinary, spanning sculpture and installation, and grounded in video. She speaks the aspirational language of consumer culture and uses humor as a means to digest painful realities. Her work confronts the contradictions of the American Dream: the ever unreliable notion that hard work will lead to upward mobility and economic freedom. She has exhibited throughout the U.S. and Europe, with solo exhibitions at the Museum of Arts & Design and Larrie in New York. Other venues include Abrons Art Center, the Jewish Museum, SculptureCenter, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the De Young Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Harris-Babou has been reviewed in The New Yorker, Artforum, and Art in America, among others. She holds an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University and a BA in Art from Yale University. View her website.

About The Black Embodiments Studio

A resident program of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery and School of Art + Art History + Design at the University of Washington, the Black Embodiments Studio (BES) is a critical arts writing incubator and public lecture series dedicated to expansive, dynamic investigations of blackness in contemporary art. The incubator steeps participants in diverse models of arts writing for academic and non-academic audiences, charting a theory and ethics of arts criticism around questions of racial blackness, aesthetics, and embodiments. Throughout the year, BES supports participants as they develop their own pieces of short-form arts writing on Black art staged and exhibited in Seattle. Three times a year, BES invites artists, curators, and writers to the Jacob Lawrence Gallery to conduct workshops with program participants and give public talks about their practice. Past guests include Kameelah Janan Rashid, Claire Tancons, Taylor Renee Aldridge, Danny Giles, and many others. Learn more.