Critical Cooking Show
Nature is Healing
Ilana Harris-Babou

In Nature is Healing, Ilana Harris-Babou presents the imaginary correspondence of a character who has fled Brooklyn for the countryside during the Spring of 2020. The protagonist documents her failed attempts at self-sufficiency, her pursuits mimicking Instagram trends that surfaced in the early days of social distancing in New York City. She tries to grow a garden, keep scallions alive on her windowsill, make sourdough, and keep a journal. Each of her projects wilts or goes bad. In the end, she finds solutions to her problems that are as absurd as they are instructional. In turns humorous and melancholic, the work explores the pitfalls of avoidance in times of crisis, and the strategies we use to distract ourselves.


Ilana Harris-Babou’s interdisciplinary work spans sculpture and installation, though it is grounded in video. She speaks the aspirational language of consumer culture and uses humour 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. 

Harris-Babou has exhibited throughout the US and Europe, with solo exhibitions at The Museum of Arts & Design and HESSE FLATOW in New York. Other venues include: The Whitney Museum of Art, New York; The Studio Museum, New York; Sculpture Center, New York; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Kunsthaus Hamburg; Casa Encendida, Madrid and West Space, Melbourne. Harris-Babou’s work 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 from Yale University.

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