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Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And
Edited with text by Catherine Morris, Aruna D’Souza. Preface by Ann Pasternak. Text by Harry Burke, Malik Gaines, Zoe Whitley, Stephanie Sparling Williams. Timeline by A.L. Ricard. Interview by Catherine Lord.
Four decades of multimedia exploits in race, art politics and subjectivity: a long-overdue survey on conceptual performance artist Lorraine O’Grady
Conceptual performance artist Lorraine O'Grady burst into the contemporary art world in 1980 dressed in a gown made of 180 pairs of white gloves and wielding a chrysanthemum-studded whip. For the next three years, O’Grady documented her exploits as this incendiary fictional persona, visiting gallery openings and providing critiques of the racial politics at play in the New York art scene. The resulting series, Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, was merely the beginning of a long career of avant-garde work that would continue to build upon O’Grady’s conceptions of self and subjectivity as seen from the perspective of a Black woman artist. This survey of O’Grady’s work spans four decades of her career and features nearly all of her major projects, as well as Announcement, the opening series of a new performance piece seven years in the making. Contextualized by an extensive timeline with letters, journal entries and interviews, Both/And provides a long-overdue close examination of O’Grady’s artistic and intellectual ambitions.
Before she became an artist at the age of 45, Lorraine O’Grady (born 1934) worked as an intelligence analyst for the United States government, a translator, and a rock music critic for the Village Voice and Rolling Stone. O’Grady’s unique life experiences, as well as her identity as a diasporic subject, have informed her multidisciplinary practice across live performance, video, photomontage, public art and cultural criticism. She is represented by Alexander Gray Associates, New York.
Featured image is reproduced from 'Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And.'
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
This is the first retrospective of Lorraine O’Grady, a singular artist working in conceptual, performance, and feminist art.
A felicitous invitation for us to grow into the role of true audience, to become the preservers the work deserves.
Alexandra M. Thomas
Both/And thinking posits a refusal of either/or framework that is endemic to the West. In disavowing binaristic thinking, we can instead dwell on the nuance of the world’s disarray and uncertainty.
Both/And feels closer to a recuperation project than an exploration of new theories and new forms, even as some of the essays reach into O’Grady’s oeuvre as if it were a packet of Fun Dip, creating crackly sparks with the new connections they forge.
New York Magazine
Artist and writer Lorraine O’Grady’s retrospective exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum covers four decades of her work along with a new performance piece, Announcement. Both/And is the accompanying catalogue, which Walton calls “super important to have.” In addition to a survey of her work, the book also includes letters, journal entries, and interviews, which offer insight into her process and art.
[An] invaluable catalogue ... highlights the signal contribution O’Grady has made to the discourse of identity politics over five decades.
Reminds old fans and educate new ones re: the seminal contribution of this fearless, ahead-of-her-times creator.
Gatefold pages unfold to immerse the reader in works arranged as closely as possible to their original installation sequence, and an extended timeline/biography helps to contextualize O’Grady’s unique life experiences with her development as an artist.
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