Ilana Harris-Babou: Decision Fatigue

February 20 - March 21, 2020

Please join Hesse Flatow as we present our first solo show with Ilana Harris-Babou, Decision Fatigue, debuting her latest video alongside ceramics and collage works.


In the video, the artist’s mother stages an intimate, absurd, sometimes painful makeup tutorial and traces the choices she has made in her life, both large and small, to hold onto youth and remain well. She shares a “daily beauty routine for a lifestyle that doesn't allow for breastfeeding, and a makeup tutorial for the preparation of a TV dinner. Playing on phrases like “clean eating” and “minimalist lifestyles”, Harris-Babou questions a world in which structural failures are often framed as personal choices. 


The installation roughly mimics a “boutique” containing an array of increasingly absurd products. Reinterpreted in ceramics and cast resins, they are inviting, caustic, and sickly sweet: Cheeto serums, hand-crafted bars of car air freshener soap, and healing crystals made of Borax. 

Ilana Harris-Babou’s work is interdisciplinary; spanning sculpture and installation, and grounded in video. She speaks the aspirational language of consumer culture and uses humor as a means to digest painful realities. Her work confronts the contradictions of the American Dream: the ever unreliable notion that hard work will lead to upward mobility and economic freedom. She has exhibited throughout the US and Europe, with solo exhibitions at The Museum of Arts & Design and Larrie in New York. Other venues include Abrons Art Center, the Jewish Museum, SculptureCenter, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the De Young Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Harris-Babou has been reviewed in the New Yorker, Artforum, and Art in America, among others. She holds an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University, and a BA in Art from Yale University.