For Artist Qualeasha Wood, a Met Acquisition Was a Blessing and a Curse

Qualeasha Wood, All Around Me, 2023. All images courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.

Qualeasha Wood got her first computer at age five. The artist, who lives in Philadelphia and works in Brooklyn, has made the Internet—the site of both paradoxical perversities and endless possibilities—her canvas since that time. She only happened upon jacquard weaving, which is incidentally understood as an ancestor to modern computing, years later, while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design. Pixels, stitches—both carry the potential to hold, and obscure, stories, identities, and symbols. Wood's work sits at the crux of those containers, braiding a concern with digital fetishization with its embodied consequences. Doxxed twice by the age of 20, Wood has become the subject of mainstream art world fascination since last year, when her tapestry The [Black] Madonna/Whore Complex, 2021, was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ahead of her first European solo show, “TL;DR,” which opens at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London this Friday, CULTURED called up the artist to talk Christian dad rock, being the loudest in the room, and making work that grinds people's gears.

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