Ming Smith: August Moon

Columbus Museum of Art

Located in Gallery 5
On view September 19, 2024–January 26, 2025

Admission Information

Ming Smith: August Moon is included with the cost of general admission.

Members get FREE admission.
Not a member? Join today!

If you need help planning your visit, call 614.221.6801. Click here for information about ticket prices, parking, and additional visit information.

Exhibition Description

The Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) is proud to present Ming Smith: August Moon, an exhibition where the essence of everyday Black life unfolds with breathtaking honesty and reverence. Smith embarks on a poignant journey through the streets of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, intimately familiarizing herself with the landscape that inspired playwright August Wilson’s iconic “Century Cycle” plays. Smith captures the essence of Wilson’s characters, immortalizing their struggles, triumphs, and the quiet resilience that defines their existence.

Smith’s upbringing in a literary family fostered an immediate affinity for Wilson’s subtle metaphors and characters, many of whom mirrored the people she knew from her own childhood. With her deliberate use of blurred imagery and obscured details, Smith creates a visual language that reflects the complexities of Black life in America, inviting viewers to see beyond the surface.

Through her photographs, Smith documents the fortitude and fragility of Black communities, built amidst the challenges of Jim Crow laws, redlining, and everyday racism. As Smith traverses the streets of the Hill District, she captures moments of daily life that resonate with the themes of Wilson’s plays. From the camaraderie of pool players to the solitude of Aunt Ester in her fur and knitted hats, Smith’s photographs speak volumes about the resilience and humanity of Black community.

August Moon is a visual journey that celebrates the richness of Black life and the enduring legacy of August Wilson’s storytelling. Through Smith’s lens, viewers are invited to immerse themselves in the beauty, complexity, and resilience of ordinary Black existence.

This exhibition is part of simultaneous solo presentations with the Wexner Center for the Arts and The Gund at Kenyon College, who will also be exhibiting work by Smith.

Ming Smith: Transcendence is a Featured Project in the 2024 FotoFocus Biennial:


Support for this 2024 FotoFocus Biennial Featured Project was provided by FotoFocus.

Ming Smith, Greyhound Bus (detail), from the series August Moon, 1991. Archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist

  • X