Bureau Phi

Art projects that make a difference

Lorraine O'Grady: Initial Recognition

Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain. September 14, 2016 –January 15, 2017

Lorraine O'Grady: Initial Recognition is her first extensive solo exhibition ever. Even in the United States where she has exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and last fall at the Carpenter Center at Harvard University, this exhibition is the first to include an overview of most of her important series. Comprising almost 100 works it covers four decades of her artistic career. Lorraine O'Grady: Initial Recognition is also an acknowledgement of a career partially in the shade, giving a fresh version of a familiar history by a black woman artist. Or a black woman within the art world.

O’Grady was born in Boston in 1934 into a comfortable family, to parents of Caribbean and Irish background, and in her work her heritage as a New Englander is palpable. In her small but concentrated oeuvre “the visibility of the racial and colonial other is at once a point of identity”. Seeking the unconventional and the little exposed, as well as owning an intellectual capacity that is both rigorous and political, O’Grady draws attention in a multidirectional way: subjectivity, black diaspora, identity, racial miscegenation, and inconspicuousness. Intensely charismatic, talkative, always wearing black pants, boots and large earrings – a commanding presence – her expression emanates proudness. Her assertive posture reveals a person, that despite her experience with marginalization and invisibility, who made a difference on the broad field of conceptual, activist, and political art.

In collaboration with Barbara Krulik
Images: Courtesy of Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo
Lorraine O'Grady
Initial Recognition
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