Exhibitions - Shooting Down Babylon

Tracey Rose
Shooting Down Babylon

04.23.23 – 10.22.23

A woman is standing in the middle of a deserted dirt road covered in pink body paint and wearing black makeup around her eyes and mouth. She playing an electric guitar, topless. She is wearing a plastic tiara, a short blond wig, black gloves, a skinny green belt, leopard print underwear, and black fishnets. Her eyes are closed and her mouth is open, as though she is in the middle of singing.

Tracey Rose, "San Pedro V 'The Hope I hope' The Wall", 2005. Giclée print, 84.91 x 63.46 cm. Courtesy the artist.

A radical voice in the international art world since the mid 90s, Tracey Rose’s (b. 1974, South Africa) cutting and uncompromising vision will be on view in an exhibition that will include work created from the 1990s to the present. The exhibition, organized by the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, interrogates several themes including repatriation, recompense and reckoning that stem from post-colonial entanglements. 


Shooting Down Babylon examines the wide-ranging mediums and concerns that are prevalent in Rose’s practice. The exhibition includes film, sculpture, photography, print, and painting, with the body and performativity central to every aspect.  For Rose, the body, often her own body, is a site for protest, outrage, resistance and related discourse. Shooting Down Babylon traces her trajectory from earlier interests in expanding narrow identity tropes to the aesthetics of violence; her subversive performative interventions and recently an interest in processes of healing and rituality. 


Tracey Rose: Shooting Down Babylon is conceived and organized by Zeitz MOCAA in collaboration with Tracey Rose. The presentation at the Queens Museum is organized by Lauren Haynes, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programs, with Sarah Cho, Assistant Curator.



About the Artist

Tracey Rose (b. 1974, South Africa) is best-known for her evolutionary performative practice which often translates to and is accompanied by photography, video, installation, and digital prints. Often described as absurd, anarchic and carnivalesque, Rose’s work explores themes around post-coloniality, gender and sexuality, race, and repatriation.


Rose was born in Durban, South Africa. In 1990, she joined the Johannesburg Art Foundation before obtaining a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1996. In 2004, Rose attended The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance and later obtained her Master of Fine Arts, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK in 2007. She currently lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Rose has taken part in several residencies including the Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire, UK (2014); DAAD, Berlin, Germany (2012/13); Darb 1718, Cairo, Egypt (2012); Cruzes, Montevideo, Uruguay (2011); Khoj International Artists Workshop Vasind, India (2005); Africa 2005 Residency, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK, (2004); Hollywood Hills House, Los Angeles, CA, USA (2001); Fresh, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (2001); and OK Centrum, Linz, Austria (2000).


She has exhibited widely internationally, most notably, May You Live in Interesting Times, South African National Pavilion, 58th La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2016); Body Talk – Feminism, Sexuality & Body, 49 Nord 6 Est rac Lorraine, Metz, France (2016); False Flag, Art Parcours, Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2016); Toro Salvaje, Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016); (x), Reina Sofí­a Museum, Madrid, Spain (2014); Waiting for God, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa and Bildmuseet, Ume, Sweden (2011); Rose O’Grady (with Lorraine O’Grady), Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2011); Performa 17, New York, USA (2017); Documenta14, Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany (2017); 11th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2011); Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK (2010); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands (2008); Africa Remix, The Hayward Gallery, London, UK and Centre George Pompidou, Paris, France (2005); and Africaine, The Studio Museum, New York, USA (2002), to name a few.


Tracey Rose: Shooting Down Babylon is conceived and organized by Zeitz MOCAA in collaboration with Tracey Rose.


Tracey Rose: Shooting Down Babylon is made possible in part by support from the A4 Arts Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by Crystal Window & Door Systems, Crystal Park, and the Queens Museum Exhibitions Circle.


The Queens Museum is housed in the New York City Building, which is owned by the City of New York.


The Museum is supported, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Mayor Eric Adams, the Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and the New York City Council under the leadership of Speaker Adrienne E. Adams.


Major funding is generously provided by the Booth Ferris Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jerome Foundation, Mellon Foundation, the MacMillan Family Foundation, the Lambent Foundation, E.A. Michelson Philanthropy and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.