Xaviera Simmons (born 1974) is an American contemporary artist. She is a descendant of Black American slaves, European American colonizers and early Indigenous Americans. Her body of work spans photography, performance, video, sound, sculpture, and installation. Her studio practice is rooted in an ongoing investigation of sensory experience, memory, and abstraction within present and future histories—specifically shifting notions surrounding landscape—as cyclical versus linear. Simmons is committed to the examination of different artistic modes and processes; she may dedicate part of a year to photography, another part to performance, and other parts to installation, video, and sound work.
Simmons received her BFA from Bard College in 2004, studying under An-My Lê, Larry Fink (photographer), Mitch Epstein, Luc Sante, and Stephen Shore. She completed the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art in 2005, while simultaneously completing a two-year actor-training conservatory with The Maggie Flanigan Studio. Simmons’s work has been exhibited at international institutions including Museum of Modern Art (New York), MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, New York), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. In 2017, Simmons had a solo exhibition of her work at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. To complement her practice as a visual artist, Simmons has also studied aspects of midwifery and herbalism.