Nexus Podcast | December 4, 2023

Kennedy Yanko and Camille Bacon

Title: Season 3, Episode 2: We explore the relationship between art, spirituality, and abstraction with Kennedy Yanko and Camille Bacon, as they reflect on their professional practices in sculpting and writing, and on their explorations of visual perception and Black feminism.

Kennedy Yanko and Camille Bacon


Kennedy Yanko, a sculptor, and installation artist and Camille Bacon, a Chicago-based writer, explore the intersections of art, spirituality, and abstraction. Kennedy’s innovative use of found metal and paint skin pushes the boundaries of visual perception, while Camille’s writing delves deep into the world of Black feminist practices and their connection to aesthetics. Join them They discuss the transformative power of abstraction in art and design pushing artists and designers to explore the complex relationship between creative process, cultural heritage and spirituality within the Black diaspora. 

Full Transcript

About Kennedy Yanko and Camille Bacon

Kennedy Yanko (b. 1988, St. Louis, MO) is a sculptor and installation artist working in found metal and paint skin. Yanko deploys her materials in ways that explore the limitations of optic vision, underlining the opportunities we miss when looking with eyes alone. Her methods reflect a dual abstract expressionist-surrealist approach that centers the seen and unseen factors that affect, contribute to, and moderate human experience. 

Select installations from 2021-2022 include “White, Passing” at the Rubell Museum (2021, Miami, FL) where Yanko was an Artist in Residence, “By means other than the known senses” at the Unlimited Section of Art Basel (2022, Basel, Switzerland), and “No more Drama” at the Brooklyn Museum (2022, Brooklyn, NY). In March 2023, she debuted her solo exhibition, “Humming on Life,” with Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in New York.  

Yanko’s institutional exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; University of South Florida; Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA). Her work is included in notable private museums, namely: The Bunker Artspace, West Palm Beach (Beth Rudin DeWoody), Espacio Tacuari, Buenos Aires (Juan Vergez and Patricia Pearson), the Rubell Museum, Miami (Don and Mera Rubell). Most recently, Yanko’s work was acquired by the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria. 

Camille Bacon is a Chicago-based writer who is building a “sweet black writing life” as inspired by the words of poet Nikky Finney and the infinite wisdom of the Black feminist tradition more broadly. Through a methodology that straddles rigorous research and divinely derived oration, she aims to excavate how aesthetics can catalyze a collective reorientation towards relation, connection and intimacy and away from apathy and amnesia. Ultimately, her work serves as the external embodiment of her commitment to amplifying the wayward ingenuity of the Black creative spirit. Camille’s work has appeared in i-D Magazine, Frieze, Cultured Magazine, Studio Magazine, Momus, The Funambulist, Air Afrique Magazine, and Burnaway, among other outlets. She currently manages McArthur Binion’s studio in Chicago, IL and formerly held positions at GRAY Gallery, Chicago, IL, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY. She is also the co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Jupiter Magazine along with fellow writer Daria Simone Harper. 

How to Listen

You can listen to all available episodes and find program notes here on our website, or subscribe to the series via one of these providers: iTunes, GoogleSpotify, iHeartRadio.

About the Show

Developed by the African American Design Nexus at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, The Nexus is a podcast that explores the intersection of design, identity, and practice through conversations with Black designers, writers, and educators. The Nexus is produced in conjunction with a commitment by the Frances Loeb Library to acquire and create an open-access bibliography of various media suggested by the GSD community on the intersection between race and design.

Show Credits

The Nexus Season 3 is hosted by Esesua Ikpefan, Doctor of Design Studies student and Tomi Seyi Laja, 2023 alum of the Master of Architecture II program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The show is recorded and edited by Maggie Janik, and the theme music is produced by DJ Eway.


For all inquiries, please email [email protected].