Awareness Post #3 - Martine Syms

Martine Syms is a 31 year old artist based in Los Angeles, California. She works primarily in the mediums of video and performance art. Syms’ work focuses on black identity, queer theory, and feminist thought. She uses the term “conceptual entrepreneur” to describe her practice. Syms’ practice is research-based.


I’m interested in the economy of words and forms: jokes, aphorisms, copywriting, advertising, that way of writing when meaning has to be squeezed into as few words as possible.
— Martine Syms in The New York Times Style Magazine

Gallery Representation

  • Syms is represented by Bridget Donahue Gallery in New York City.

  • Syms is represented by Sadie Coles HQ in London.

  • Her distribution is managed by Video Data Bank in Chicago.


  • BFA in Film, Video, and New Media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007

  • MFA from Bard College in 2017

Select Places Her Work Has Been Shown

  • The Broad

  • Museum of Modern Art

  • MOMA PS1

  • ICA London

  • Hammer Museum

  • New Museum


Image via  Hammer

Image via Hammer

My insistence on making my exhibition spaces also resemble sites of production is connected to two things: First is the idea that I don’t really think of things as ever being done, and so visually, I want it to be a space where something happens. Second, it connects to this idea of everyone’s ability to record everything, so the exhibition is already a space of production. People are going to be taking pictures and recording videos in there, and through the iOS app itself they can also produce images.
— Martine Syms in Conversation with Artforum

CV Highlights

  • Founder of Dominica Publishing

  • Recipient of 2017 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant

  • 2018 Graham for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Fellow

  • First solo museum exhibit in May of 2017 at MOMA called Projects 106: Martine Syms

  • Syms has lectured at places including SXSW, Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, and California Institute of the Arts

Aesthetically, I really enjoy Syms’ work. Her colors and her design are absolutely stellar. I also like her use of text and video in her pieces. I aspire to her level of expertise with the medium.

Further Reading and Links