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.”
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire
Lorraine O'Grady with Jarrett Earnest — In this cover feature, her most important published interview to date, O'Grady discusses Flannery O'Connor as a philosopher of the margins, the archival website, working out emotions via Egyptian sculpture, Michael Jackson's genius, and feminism as a plural noun.
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.
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.
WACK! audio statement, published in Art Lies #54, Summer 2007 — For WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, the first major museum exhibit of feminist art, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A., O’Grady was asked to record an audio statement for the cell-phone tour to explain how her piece related to the show’s theme.
WACK! gallery talk, published in Art Lies #54, Summer 2007 — As part of her gallery talk for WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at MOCA, LA, O’Grady read this statement inspired by Marsha Meskimmon’s important catalogue essay, in which the theoretical underpinning for the show’s historic statement of including 50% non- U.S. artists had been laid out.
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.
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.
Hatch-Billops Collection, Artists and Influence 1996, vol. 15 — In-depth interview done for the excellent Artist and Influence series produced by Camille Billops and James Hatch for their archive of African American visual and theatre arts.
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.
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 statement, for Tony Whitfield — A letter to Tony Whitfield in preparation for Just Above Midtown’s Afro- Pop catalogue interview is O’Grady’s most self-conscious to that point. Experiencing a lack of clear precedents for her work, in it she attempts to theorize her relationship to performance art and the paucity of role models, and to face the question of the audience for black avant-garde art.
Unpublished statement, for Judson Memorial Church, unsent — In writing a proposal to perform Rivers at Judson Memorial Church, a venue with important avant-garde history, O’Grady unexpectedly reached greater clarity on the spiritual aspects of her work, especially its forms.
High Performance #13, Artist’s Chronicle — Her first submission to a performance art journal was a description of Mlle Bourgeoise Noire’s earliest appearance, a guerrilla action at Just Above Midtown, the country’s only black avant-garde art gallery.
Caille Millner, on Rivers, First Draft as a living Künstlerroman — Whereas to many the performance may seem surrealist (in the way early readers saw García Márquez's 100 Years of Solitude as surrealist when that novel was, if not realistic, quite real), Millner adeptly demystifies the work's collage aesthetic, seeing the piece as literalized metaphor, a guide to women of color wishing to become artists.
"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."
A Walk Through the World of Lorraine O'Grady — Heather Kapplow, the Boston reviewer, replicates O'Grady's working method by walking backwards, turning the exhibit itself into a diptych, video on one side, wall works on the other, setting in motion a permanent back-and-forth questioning and answering between the two so that the only resolution is to embrace a permanent, un-hierarchized equivalence.
Cate McQuaid on "Where Margins Become Centers" — In this enthusiastic review of the Carpenter Center show, which she later discussed further in an end-of-year column on Boston's galleries, the award-winning critic declares that, after the early performances, O'Grady's work "grew more precise and more searing."
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.
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.
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's Hair Stare Fare, Village Voice — Davis's career evaluation and review of New Worlds at Alexander Gray, NY, O'Grady's show comprised of The Fir-Palm, The Clearing, and the projected video Landscape (Western Hemisphere), is suggestively sub-titled "A veteran artist turns identity into abstract art."
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.
Lorraine O’Grady’s Landscape — In a new magazine devoted to artists from the Caribbean and its diaspora, a young Trinidadian-Canadian professor at Toronto’s York University sheds light on the role of hybridity in Landscape (Western Hemisphere) and its complementary work The Clearing.
Five from the Whitney Biennial: Lorraine O’Grady — Walleston’s Art in America online interview-feature, published on the day of the V.I.P. reception for the 2010 Whitney Biennial, provided a brief but effective look at the artist's work and career.
The Poem Will Resemble You — Mauss’s article for Artforum is, with Wilson’s INTAR catalogue essay, one of the most extended and incisive pieces on O’Grady’s oeuvre to date. It was one-half of a two-article feature that also included O’Grady’s artist portfolio for The Black and White Show.
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, Artforum Magazine — In Artforum's first review of an O'Grady solo exhibit, Burton sensitively parses the "uneasy symmetry" of the Miscegenated Family Album installation at Alexander Gray Associates, NY.
Miscegenated Family Album, at Alexander Gray Associates, NYC — Discussion of framing as a technique of meaning in O’Grady’s conceptual photo-installation.
Miscegenated Family Album, at Alexander Gray Associates, NY — The first New York Times review of a solo show by O’Grady. Lead review in the “Art in Review” section, with a photo of “Sisters I.”
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.
Exhibit reflects downtown dance club — Daily newspaper review of O’Grady’s video installation Persistent, at Artpace, San Antonio, TX, July 2007. A work on dance, music, economics, and race that recalls O’Grady’s own past as a club dancer and rock critic.
Connie Butler, curator; Linda Theung, essayist — Catalogue essay by Linda Theung for WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, which opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, then traveled to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; MOMA/PS1, Long Island City, NY; and the Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia.
Shadow Boxing with the Status Quo — Review of "Lorraine O'Grady, The Space Between, MATRIX/127," The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, May 21-Aug 20, 1995. Discusses the two-part exhibit: Miscegenated Family Album and debut installation of Mlle Bourgeoise Noire.
Lorraine O’Grady: The Space Between — Brochure article written for the one-person exhibit “Lorraine O’Grady / MATRIX 127,” The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, May 21 – Aug 20, 1995.
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.
Art Is . . . — Highlighted box review, taking a retrospective look at O’Grady’s 1983 performance Art Is.... In “Sniper’s Nest,” Z Magazine, July-August 1988, p 102