Firelei Báez was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic and lives and works in New York, NY. She makes intricate works on paper and canvas as well as large scale sculpture. Through a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work, her art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies, which have an ability to live with cultural ambiguities and use them to build psychological and even metaphysical defenses against cultural invasions.
Báez received an M.F.A. from Hunter College and a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union’s School of Art and studied at The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has had solo exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, UT, Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PA, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA, and Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL. Her work has been exhibited at the New Museum, New York, NY, Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia, PA, Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Clinton, NY, the Drawing Center, the Bronx Museum, New York, NY, the Studio Museum, New York, NY, the Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles, CA as a part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time’s LA>LA exhibition, and with the Pinchuk Art Foundation’s Future Generation’s Art Prize exhibition at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Her work was featured in the United States Biennial Prospect.3 in New Orleans, LA, curated by Franklin Sirmans. In 2018, Báez is set to have a major solo exhibition at Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, as well as her work featured in the Berlin Biennale.
She has held residencies at The Headlands, The Joan Mitchell Center, The Fine Arts Work Center, The Lower East Side Print Shop, and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace. Baez’s work has been written about in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Prospect.3 Catalogue, Chicago Tribune, Artsy, The Huffington Post, Elephant Magazine, Hyperallergic and is featured in the Phaidon contemporary drawing anthology Vitamin D2. Baez is featured in collections such as BNY Mellon Art Collection, Pittsburgh, PA, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL, Sindika Dokolo Foundation Collection, Luanda, Angola, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, and Tiroche DeLeon Collection, Jaffa, Isreal.
She has been the recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Award in Painting, the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting, and the Chiaro Award from the Headlands. In 2015, The Pérez Art Miami Museum published Firelei Báez: Bloodlines, with an introduction by the museum’s Director, Franklin Sirmans, an essay by Assistant Curator María Elena Ortiz, an interview with Naima Keith and a contribution by writer Roxane Gay.