Maya Stovall

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Installation view of Maya Stovall: Sail, 2022.
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Maya Stovall, A____That Defies Gravity, no. 130-139, 2022.
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Maya Stovall, A____That Defies Gravity, no. 50-59, 2022.
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Installation view of Maya Stovall presented by Reyes | Finn, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2021
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Maya Stovall, 1526 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 1, 2019. From the start, African American survivors work to end human trafficking and genocide, otherwise known as United States Slavery. An example of this work is organized resistance and rebellion. In 1526 South Carolina, among the first known U.S. Slavery locations, a successful rebellion is strategized and survivors establish local homesteads (Aptheker 1939, pp.16-17).
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1661 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 3, 2019. Across generations individual African American survivors write court petitions against United States Slavery. In 1661, the first known petition is written by husband and wife survivors Dorothy Angola and Emmanuel Pieterson. Writing in Dutch, survivors Angola and Pieterson petition the courts of New Amsterdam—present day New York. The Angola-Pieterson’s petition suggests a path to freedom for their adopted son, Anthony Angola Pieterson. The Angola-Pieterson petition has an unusual result: the petition for the couple’s son Anthony’s freedom is granted on 21 March, 1661 at Fort New Amsterdam, New York (New Netherlands petition, 1661, reprinted in Aptheker 1951, 1-2).
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1787 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 4, 2019. Across hundreds of years African American survivors and their non-trafficked and trafficked descendants write petitions protesting United States Slavery’s legislated terror. Federal and state law, for example, historically prevent African American survivors from attending equitable schools. In 1787 Boston, Massachusetts, African American survivors petition for public education access. The Boston petition is not granted (Petition from black citizens to the Massachusetts State Legislature, 17 October, 1787, Aptheker 1951, 19-20).
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Maya Stovall, 1895 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 11, 2019. In 1895, the musician Buddy Bolden develops African American classical music—jazz. Combining African American, Africanist, and Afro-New Orleans aesthetics, Bolden’s band establishes the foundation of the jazz genre. Linking syncopation, order, improvisation, and spiritual-cultural traditions, jazz shapes international music and culture (Rollefson 2015, Gioia 2011, Morrison 1994).
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1931 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 17, 2019. By 1931, the historian Carter G. Woodson formally establishes African American historical studies as an academic discipline. The son of United States Slavery survivors, Woodson earns a graduate degree from The University Of Chicago, a Ph.D. (1912) from Harvard University (after W.E.B. Du Bois in 1895), and spends his academic career at Howard University. Woodson theorizes: The effort of people of African descent to interpret man’s relation to the universe shows just as much intelligence as we find in the philosophy of the Greeks. The art of Africa influenced the art of the Greeks to the extent that thinkers are now saying that the most ancient culture of the Mediterranean was chiefly African (Woodson 1931, The Crisis; XXXVIII, 266-67).
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1934 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 18, 2019. The U.S. Congress Housing Act of 1934 establishes racist residential mortgage practices, excluding African Americans from housing markets, credit markets, and the Federal Housing Administration’s home loan systems (Cunningham, Lee Vue, and Maier 2017, Gotham 2000). Across U.S. cities African American survivors are met with afterlives of the 1934 Act’s legal devices, such as racist zoning, deed restrictions, and racially restrictive covenants to impose and increase racialized residential segregation. The FHA’s policies continue to reproduce residential racial inequality (Cunningham, Lee Vue, and Maier 2017, Gotham 2000, Hays 1984, pp. 80-89, Gelfand 1975, pp. 218).
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1966 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 25, 2019. In 1966, the philosopher and activist Huey Newton writes the Black Panther Party Manifesto. Newton opens the Manifesto with the statement: We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our black community. (Newton 1966, Black Panther Party Manifesto, excerpted statement number 1 of 10, full original copy re-printed in Aptheker 1994, pp. 404).
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Maya Stovall, 1967 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 26 , 2019. In 1967 at 12th and Claremont in Detroit’s North End after a Vietnam veterans welcome home party, in the teeny-tiny hours, the city explodes (Boyd 2017, pp. 202-203). Hundreds of years of white supremacist genocide and terror machine to police brutality; racist housing policy; gross education, employment, banking, finance, and judicial system disparities. The streets speak. Rebellions in 1833, 1863, 1943, and a youth-led rebellion of 1966 reflect Detroit’s ongoing, unequal reality (Boyd 2017).
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1971 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 28, 2019. In 1971 on Detroit’s west side, the musicians Bobby Hackney, David Hackney, and Dannis Hackney establish the proto-punk band, Death (McAtackney & Ryzewski 2017). The band Death is the foundation of punk music. Bobby Hackney’s record, Politicians in My Eyes, theorizes: Politicians in my eyes/ Always tryin’ to be slick when they tell us the lies/ They’re responsible for sending young men to die/ (Hackney 1976, Politicians in My Eyes, Tryangle Records).
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1974 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 29, 2019. In 1974, James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs write Revolution and Evolution in the 21st Century. Grace Lee Boggs writes an updated introduction to the 1974 original publication, reflecting: As a people and as a nation, we must now make a second American revolution to rid ourselves of the values and institutions which bring us to this state of powerlessness (Boggs & Lee Boggs 1982, excerpted, Boggs 2019, pp. 4).
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Maya Stovall, 1981 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 31, 2019. In 1981, the musician Juan Atkins releases the single, Alleys of Your Mind, on his Deep Space record label. With this new music, Atkins establishes the techno music genre—with Detroit techno. In addition to Atkins, key techno founders include the musicians Carl Craig, Eddie Fowlkes, Derrick May, Jeff Mills, and Kevin Saunderson. Atkins, May, and Saunderson—known as the the Belleville Three—are central to founding techno. Techno shapes international music and cultures (T. Stovall 2019, Schaub 2009).
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1991 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 33, 2019. In 1991, a United States sentencing commission Special Report to Congress concludes that sentences are applied in a discriminatory manner and that people of color are much more likely to receive mandatory minimum sentences (U.S. Sentencing Commission, Special Report to the Congress: Mandatory Minimum Penalties in the Criminal Justice System, 1991). No action is taken to correct racist incarceration policy. More than 60 percent of the 6.6 million people incarcerated today are people of color. More than half the people of color incarcerated today are African American (Kaeble, D. and Cowhig, M. (2018). Correctional Populations in the United States, 2016. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Key Statistics: Total Correctional Population; Bronson J. and Carson, E.A. (2019). Prisoners in 2017. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics).
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Maya Stovall, 2013 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 40, 2019. In 2013, the city of Detroit files a petition for Chapter 9, Title 11, municipal bankruptcy. By debt, Detroit’s Chapter 9 filing is the largest in U.S. history at an estimated $18-$20 billion. After the filing, Governor Rick Snyder declares Detroit a state of financial emergency and appoints an emergency financial manager. Coincidentally, in 2013, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is sentenced to 28 years in Federal Prison for alleged economic crimes during his mayoral tenure. Kilpatrick’s alleged economic crimes are estimated at $1 million (U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Michigan, 2013). The median loss for government related economic crimes is $739,500 ((United States Sentencing Commission 2019, What Does Federal Economic Crime Really Look Like?). Kilpatrick’s 28 year sentence contrasts with the United States Sentencing Commission’s median economic crime sentence for similar crimes: 23 months (United States Sentencing Commission 2019, What Does Federal Economic Crime Really Look Like?).
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2014 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 41, 2019. In 2014, the Detroit Water Crisis leaves thousands of low-income infants, older people, children, women, and men without access to clean, affordable water. The Water Crisis attracts worldwide attention, including that of the United Nations. The Detroit water department, attempting to meet its $366 million operating costs, predicts an estimated 3,000 household water shutoffs per week. The crisis turns out to be at least ten times that estimate (House and Watson 2016, Stovall 2018, pp. 328). Denying water access in a major American city should be named what it is—genocide (House and Watson 2016).
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Maya Stovall, 2019 (1526 NASDAQ: FAANG), no. 45, 2019. In 2019, a serial killer targets woman in Detroit’s McDougall Hunt neighborhood (Detroit News: Terry & Clark 2019, Hunter 2019). McDougall Hunt is the neighborhood in which Todd Stovall and Maya Stovall’s shared studio is and has been since 2012. 2019 is dedicated to 4 women and their families: Yvonne Cobern Travesene Ellis Nancy Harrison Tamara Jones Tamara Jones, who everyone calls Tammy, is the sister of a long-time friend of Greg Winters. Greg Winters is a close friend of Maya Stovall and Todd Stovall. A 5th woman is said to be pending in the case details at the time of this writing (Hunter 2019, Rose 2019). 2019 is dedicated to her, as well, should this be confirmed.
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A ________ that defies gravity, no. 1-10 , 2019, Pale yellow neon, warm cream fluorescent light, and metal, 92 x 1/2 in. (each neon tube)
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Machine Install Image, photography by Clare Gatto
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Machine Install Image, photography by Clare Gatto
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Machine Install Image, photography by Clare Gatto
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NADA Miami 2019 Install Image
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NADA Miami 2019 Install Image
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NADA Miami 2019 Install Image

b. 1982 in Detroit, lives and works in Los Angeles County and Detroit. 

Stovall earned her Ph.D. in anthropology, with her dissertation, Liquor Store Theatre: Ethnography & Contemporary Art in Detroit. She is a Whitney Biennial and Studio Museum in Harlem F-Series artist, and is an artist and Assistant Professor at Cal Poly in Pomona, California.

She exhibits work and presents commissions widely in solo and group exhibitions and biennales across the U.S. and internationally. Her solo exhibition UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP and commissioned performance series, Maya Stovall: THEOREM appears at The Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture (San Francisco) and her work has recently appeared in solo and/or group exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), Atlanta Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Canada (Toronto), The Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC), Newbridge Projects (New Castle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom), The Contemporary Art Museum (St. Louis), The Cranbrook Art Museum (Detroit), The Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore), AKA Artist Run (Saskatoon), Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco), Reyes Projects (Detroit), Library Street Collective (Detroit), Pop Montréal (Canada) and more.

She was recently an artist in residence with institutions in Aarhus, Denmark, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She publishes peer-reviewed academic articles on her practice and research in publications including Transforming Anthropology and the Journal of the Anthropology of North America, her works are included in the permanent collections at The Cranbrook Art Museum and The Whitney Museum of American Art, and her book, Liquor Store Theatre, was published in 2020 with Duke Press, edited by Ken Wissoker.


View Works on Artsy

Recent Exhibitions:


Razón/Reason at the Blaffer Art Museum

Art Basel Miami Beach 2021

Liquor Store Theatre Book Launch and Panel Discussion

NADA Miami 2020

NADA Miami 2019


Independent New York 2019

At Large



The Art Newspaper

The New York Times

Pin-Up Magazine

T Magazine





Ph.D, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI


MBA, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL


BBA, Howard University, Washington, D.C.



Sail, Reyes | Finn, Detroit, MI 

Razón/Reason, Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, TX 


Art Basel Miami Beach, Positions Sector, Reyes | Finn

A something = x, Parrasch Heijnen, Los Angeles, CA


White Columns, New York, NY 

Positions, Detroit Artists Market, dual solo exhibition with Todd Stovall, Detroit, MI

Book Launch, Liquor Store Theatre


Machine, Reyes | Finn, Detroit, MI

Maya Stovall: Under New Ownership, Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, San Francisco, CA

Maya Stovall: THEOREM, no. 1, Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, San Francisco, CA


Liquor Store Theatre Performance, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Compulsion And Heart, AKA Artist Run, Saskatoon, Candada



Reyes | Finn booth NADA Miami, Ice Palace Studio, Miami, FL

Daily Rush: Cache, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI

Reyes | Finn booth at Independent New York 2019, New York, NY


Believe, Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto, Canada

Homemade, Library Street Collective, Detroit, MI

Vivid Memories of a Blurred Past, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA

At Large, Reyes Projects, Birmingham, MI

Fictions, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY


Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Fictions, Studio Museum in Harlem, Harlem, NY


The Fluid Image, N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI

MBAD Museum African Bead Festival, Dance of the Chip Bagger, Detroit, MI

Sidewalk Festival for the Performing Arts, Roving Performance Installations, Detroit, MI

Hair, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Single channel dance video, commissioned by the artist Olayami Dabls for Dabl’s Kresge Arts Fellowship: Art X Detroit Exhibition, Detroit, MI

Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival,13/60: Single channel dance video, Detroit, MI



Maya Stovall: THEOREM, no. 1, Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, San Francisco: Performance Commission, San Francisco, CA


Performance in Public/ Public in Performance, Newbridget Projects, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, U.K

Counternarratives: Performance and Actions in Public Space, Maryland Institute College of Art


Art @ the Max III, Fisher Center, Detroit, MI

Marching to the Beat, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, CA


Team with Performance Artist, Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts, Detroit, MI

Detroit Grit Lessons, AUNTS X Detroit, Detroit, MI

Invited Performance, Inca Ruins, Tiahuanaco, Boliva


Choreographer, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Nick Cave and Biba Bell, #BlackLivesMatter: Performance & Public Space



Liquor Store Theatre, Eastern Market Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts, Detroit, MI



Studio Museum in Harlem, Fictions F-Series Artist

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Honorable Mention,


United States Artists, Fellowship Nominee

                  Whitney Museum of American Art, Whitney Biennial Artist,


King Chavez Parks Future Faculty Fellowship, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI


Social Sciences Research Council, Dissertation Proposal Fellowship Finalist


Aswad Award, Wayne State University


Kalamazoo Art Institute

Whitney Museum of American Art

Cranbrook Art Museum

Los Angeles County Museum of Art