Text read at MOMA's Now Dig This! symposium — A meditation on why Rivers, First Draft might not have existed without the Just Above Midtown Gallery’s challenging and supportive environment.
Artist feature, CAA Art Journal, Summer 2012 — Based on her lecture in conjunction with the exhibit This Will Have Been: Art, Love and Politics in the 1980s, the article puts several early works in historical context and explains O'Grady's reverse trajectory from "post-black" to "black."
[In English] Pétunia: magazine féministe d'art contemporain 2, France — The French feminist magazine Petunia’s invitation to create a centerfold sparked O’Grady’s piece in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, The First and the Last of the Modernists. The text documents her decision to contrast images of Baudelaire and Michael Jackson.
O’Grady used the margin comments of her Artforum editor on “The Black and White Show” in part as an opportunity for background clarification on the situation of race in the 1980s art world.
1983 curated show, re-presented in Artforum, May 2009 — The artist portfolio that accompanied a survey article on O’Grady’s work by Nick Mauss in a two-article Artforum cover spread combined impressionistic text on her experience curating “The Black and White Show,” 1983, with historically analytic captions for works from the show.
Moderated online by Maurice Berger — O’Grady’s replies to Berger’s questions, both reproduced here, were extensive. The conference, with 30 posters and hosted on the Georgia O’Keefe Museum website, provided an opportune moment to re-think her 80s work in its larger historical context.
LACMA panel paper, revised for publication in X-Tra — O’Grady recounts an incident from her pre-art life in explanation of her response to the work of the white South African artist.
Flannery O'Connor: In Celebration of Genius, 75th year Festschrift — This personal article by Guerrilla Girl Alma Thomas on one of O'Grady's key authors, Flannery O'Connor—who wrote as a Catholic in the Protestant South—discusses O'Connor's meaning for later "minority" artists in a pluralized world.
Art Journal, College Art Association — In this article for Art Journal, Winter 1997, the special issue on performance edited by Martha Wilson, O’Grady focuses first on Nefertiti/Devonia Evangeline, then discusses its relationship to Miscegenated Family Album, alluding to the advantages and disadvantages of the move from performance to photo installation.
Unpublished lecture, Wellesley College — Written shortly after the “Postscript” to “Olympia’s Maid,” this lecture delivered to the Wellesley Round Table, a faculty symposium on Miscegenated Family Album, takes a retrospective look at O’Grady’s earlier life and work through the prism of cultural theory.
Afterimage 20, 1992; expanded, New Feminist Criticism, 1994 — This first-ever article of cultural criticism on the black female body was to prove germinal and continues to be widely referenced in scholarly and other works. Occasionally controversial, it has been frequently anthologized, most recently in Amelia Jones, ed, The Feminism and Cultural Reader, Routledge.
Artforum International — O’Grady’s column on the occasion of Basquiat’s first retrospective, at the Whitney Museum, was the first to examine Basquiat’s relation to the black art world. It discusses her personal relationship to Jean-Michel and analyzes the mainstream art world’s “primitivist” responses to his work.
Catalogue Essay, Coming to Power, David Zwirner Gallery — Written for the unpublished, photocopied catalogue of Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-plicit Art by Women, curated by Ellen Cantor and presented by David Zwirner Gallery and Simon Watson/The Contemporary, NYC, the essay examines O’Grady’s inclusion in the show and responses to her diptych The Clearing.
Heresies #15: Racism Is the Issue — Published in the Heresies collective’s journal, this was O’Grady’s first attempt to deal publicly with issues of black female subjectivity. It is based firmly in personal anecdote and psychological description rather than the more theoretical analysis she would later employ.