Published by Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University. Introduction by Jessica Bell Brown. Text by Tracy K. Smith, Imani Perry, Awoye Timpo, V. Mitch McEwen, Ruha Benjamin, Mario Moore.
Over the years, artist and Detroit native Mario Moore (born 1987) has observed that the halls of elite institutions like universities and art museums prominently feature portraits of donors, deans, presidents, board members and scholars, and that the subjects of those portraits are mostly white and male. When Moore was selected as a Princeton University Hodder Fellow in 2018, he wanted to ask what positions garner such attention and how could painting contribute to conversations on who deserves to be recognized. He set out to meet Black men and women who work in and around Princeton University in blue-collar jobs and let the art-making process unfold from their collaborative interactions. In the resulting works, Moore redefines the colonial gaze for the subjects he paints, allowing them to look directly out with an unflinching stare. This publication includes sketches, drawings, etchings and paintings.