Massimiliano Gioni, “Lorraine O’Grady, Art Is. . ., 1983/2009.” In “Expert Eye,” The Art Newspaper, Art Basel Miami Beach Weekend Edition (Day 4), p. 12, December 5-6, 2009.
Massimiliano Gioni, director of special exhibitions, New Museum, and artistic director, the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, Milan, picks…
Lorraine O’Grady, Art Is…, 1983/2009
It’s a suite of photographs called Art Is… [at Alexander Gray, H27, full set of prints $40,000, edition of eight; individual prints $2,500-$4,000, edition of eight]. Lorraine O’ Grady is an artist who has recently been rediscovered and rightly so. This piece is a documentation of a parade that took place in Harlem in the 1980s and it consists of lots of photographs of people holding up gold frames.
It’s an interesting piece to be seen in this context for two reasons, first of all because it reminds us of what’s not in the fair and of artists who usually remain excluded, like O’Grady. Secondly, it’s appropriate to see it in a fair because it is a place where people come to look at pictures, but also come to look at each other. In this performance the artist asked people to hold up frames and through this we reconnect with the art. There’s something about collective and spontaneous participation in the work that is quite interesting and we shouldn’t forget. We often think that art is about money or beauty, but art is basically what happens when people come together and that’s what this piece talks about. Interview by: Anny Shaw