One of my favorite pieces included in Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at the Studio Museum in Harlem earlier this year was Adam Pendleton’s “Lorraine O’Grady: A Portrait” (2012). The video captures O’Grady, a pioneering black feminist artist, telling the story of her career in art. Pendleton shakes up the narrative a bit with abrupt cuts and unusual perspective, but the most fascinating part of the video is unquestionably O’Grady herself, speaking smartly, thoughtfully, and eloquently about racism and sexism in the art world as well as her own work. She seems to possess an incredible magnetism and magnanimity.
Unfortunately “Lorraine O’Grady: A Portrait” isn’t online anywhere, so I can’t include it here. But there is a video on YouTube, thanks to Performa, that conveys some of what captivated me about O’Grady that day at the Studio Museum. It’s a recording of her talking about her work “The First and the Last of the Modernists” (2010), which pairs photographs of Charles Baudelaire and Michael Jackson. As she explains in the Performa video, O’Grady is “obsessed” with the two men, and she sees a unique connection and parallel between them: “Charles was the first modernist. There will never be another modernist with a vision as total as Michael Jackson. … And yet when you look at both their lives, they were so destroyed by this desire to be God.”
The whole thing is excellent, filled with insights not only into the lives and careers of Baudelaire and MJ, but also into O’Grady’s own mind. (I particularly like her discussion of the actress Jeanne Duval, Baudelaire’s lover for 20 years and, for O’Grady, “the first postmodernist.”) And if you need any more incentive: today would have been Michael Jackson’s 56th birthday. A good time to listen to O’Grady discuss how he changed the world.
I won’t bother you with talk about how obscenely decadent and out of touch the Frieze art fair is. And yet…
Curators Tahnee Ahtone, La Tanya S. Autry, Frederica Simmons, Dan Cameron, and Jeremy Dennis offered the public a window into their curatorial processes through the work they produced during their fellowships.
Who says tragedy has to be tragic? Co-presented with National Black Theatre, this fresh, Pulitzer-winning take on a classic centers Black joy and liberation.
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, Jeremy Dennis presents an exhibition to offer insight into his curatorial process.
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, Dan Cameron presents an email exhibition to offer insight into his curatorial process.
For the triennial’s eighth edition, work by more than 70 artists is featured in 12 exhibitions and a polyphonic program, installed at various locations throughout the German city.
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, Frederica Simmons presents an email exhibition to offer insight into their curatorial process.
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, La Tanya S. Autry presents an exhibition to offer insight into her curatorial process.
This exhibition explores the work and short-but-impactful life of the groundbreaking ceramic artist. Now on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, Tahnee Ahtone presents an email exhibition to offer insight into her curatorial process.
This week: Why does the internet hate Amber Heard? Will Congress recognize the Palestinian Nakba? And other urgent questions.
Artist Dan Jian makes the point that landscapes and memory are one and the same.