Kirsten Swenson reviews “Lorraine O’Grady” at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts — Notes uncanny intersections of O’Grady’s early works with contemporary events. Concludes, “Now, we are beginning to see her art.”
Studio Museum in Harlem Magazine, Summer/Fall issue — Hunt, the curator of O'Grady's solo exhibit of "Art Is..." at the SMH, discusses with her the images the artist still finds most intriguing, her process of gathering the images and more than a quarter of a century later organizing them into a new art work. Also touched on are the assembling of the performers and how they helped shape the piece.
Transcript, "Lorraine O'Grady's Natures," NCRA Canada — This half-hour show, extracted from a longer video interview and produced in Canada for NCRA, is focused on O’Grady’s diptych “The Clearing” and explores issues of sex, nature and love in her work via a mix of the intellectual and the intimate.
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.
Abbreviated version of a WPS1 radio chat with curator Connie Butler. Published in the P.S.1 Newspaper Special Edition for “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” Winter/Spring, 2008, P.S.1–MOMA, Long Island City, NY.
Recorded by Art Radio WPS1, available online at clocktower.org — Full transcript of a 45-minute conversation between Lorraine O’Grady and curator Connie Butler in WPS1 Art Radio’s broadcast studios two weeks before the WACK! opening at PS1–MOMA, Long Island City, NY.
Posted to the moca.org WACK site — O’Grady posted this brief synopsis of the performance and its background on the WACK! exhibit’s excellent website. Significantly, she also posted 13 largely unknown photos-with-captions documenting the performance, which historically had been victim to two iconic images. Lacking a full context, they had become empty signifiers.
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.
Unpublished exchange — The most comprehensive and focused interview of O’Grady to date, this Q & A by a Duke University doctoral candidate benefited from the slowness of the email format, the African American feminist scholar’s deep familiarity with O’Grady’s work, and their personal friendship.
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.
Unedited transcript for Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties — Montano’s questions on “ritual” cast interesting light on the connection between O’Grady’s early life and her performances. The unedited transcript of the interview contains answers in greater depth on Mlle Bourgeoise Noire and Nefertiti/Devonia Evangeline.
Unpublished letter re “Report from the East Village” — Unpublished letter re the omission of Kenkeleba Gallery and O’Grady’s The Black and White Show from the feature section, “Report from the East Village: Slouching Toward Avenue D,” in Art in America, Vol 72 No 6 (Summer 1984). Receipt not acknowledged.
"Frame Me": Speaking Out of Turn and Lorraine O'Grady's Alien Avant-Garde — In the first major academic article on O'Grady, Stephanie Sparling Williams, using both the definition of "alien" as stranger and the Brechtian "alienation effect," provides a first line of theorization, stating: "As both alien and avant-garde, [it paves] the way for these two terms to be theorized in close proximity as a distinctive position from which to deploy strategic visibility and voice."
Louis Bury on "Art Is..." — Bury's lengthy and magisterial review is a model of intellectual attention to what is being seen — both inside and outside the frame. Beginning with the freedom of the piece's title, it examines framing as form, content and metaphor, and illluminates police presence and the relation of viewer to viewed.
Blog entry on "Art Is..." at the Studio Museum in Harlem — This brief review by an art historian frames "Art Is..." as a "meta-art proposition" and draws interesting parallels to works by later black artists.
Feature article on "Art Is..." and why it might not work today — with interview of O'Grady by Karen Rosenberg. O'Grady describes how the piece became unintentionally historic. Done in 1983, it was just before crack came to Harlem. Later, both the drug and the changed technologies of policing in Harlem and elsewhere would make people less open to strangers and cameras.
Lorraine O'Grady, gallery exhibition catalogue — Fully illustrated, with analyses and descriptions of the 1977 "Cutting Out the New York Times" collaged poems and the 1982 "Rivers, First Draft" performance in Central Park (including production and music credits). Also contains bio and a new text by O'Grady celebrating premiere of RFD as a wall installation.
Animating the Archive: Black Performance Art's Radical Presence – Alexis Clements' review of "Radical Presence" at the Grey Art Gallery, NYU, discusses the ways in which O'Grady's photo-document installation of Mlle Bourgeoise Noire enables one to imagine at least in part what it might have been like to be present during the performance.
Piece on Basquiat referencing O'Grady's 1993 Artforum article — ArtInfo executive editor Ben Davis's feature, "Saving Basquiat," points to O'Grady's 1993 Artforum article and highlights the question it raised: Could knowing black fine artists have saved him?
Lisa Scanlon on O'Grady's archive at Wellesley College — Associate editor Scanlon, writing on the newly opened Lorrraine O'Grady Papers, the College's first major alumnae archives, calls the collection a means to preserve the records of the artist's "permanent rebellion."
Alana Chloe Esposito, Unnatural Attitudes — A sensitive summary of O'Grady's biography and its effect on her art, Esposito's piece sees the work as emerging from the artist's pressure to understand and become herself.
Lorraine O'Grady Papers, Wellesley College Library — Front page article on the college website about the artist's visit to campus for the celebration of the opening of her archive and to give a lecture.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago — Analysis of O'Grady's 1983 Afro-American Day Parade, Harlem, performance Art Is…, in the groundbreaking exhibit This Will Have Been: Art, Love and Politics in the 1980s, curated by Helen Molesworth. Essay by Jordan Troeller.
The Moment of Encounter — A film director and Columbia University professor describes her experience seeing Art Is... at Basel Miami, then attending O’Grady’s public conversation with Roselee Goldberg and Sanford Biggers at MOMA three months later. Meditates on O’Grady’s career trajectory.
On Re.act.feminism @ Akademie der Künste, Berlin — Review of feminist art show with 25 artists in exhibition, plus 80 in video archive, makes special mention of O’Grady and three other artists, including Valie Export, Yoko Ono, and Gabrielle Stötzer.
Miscegenated Family Album, at Alexander Gray Associates, NYC — Discussion of framing as a technique of meaning in O’Grady’s conceptual photo-installation.
WACK! Feminist Art Strikes Back — Feature article with photo describes O’Grady presenting her work on the artist gallery tour during the opening of WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at the Vancouver Art Gallery on October 5.
A West Indian Yankee in Queen Nefertiti’s Court — The first critical article on O'Grady's work as a whole, and still one of the best. Published in New Observations #97: COLOR. September/October 1993. Special issue, edited by ADRIAN PIPER.
Gretchen Faust, New York in Review — Excellent review of O'Grady's first solo exhibit, at INTAR Gallery. Faust confesses: "Every once and awhile I come across a show that really demands more time and space consideration." Special focus on performance docs in the photomontage show.