Lorraine O'Grady

May 28 – June 27, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates, 2015

Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 1 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 2 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 3 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 4 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 5 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 6 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 7 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 8 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 9 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 10 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 11 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 12 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Missing Persons, 1977/2010
Parts 13 of 13, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 102.35w in (27.99h x 259.98w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Finding the one you love...is finding yourself, 1977/2010
Part 1 of 7, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 77.17h x 7.88w in (196h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Finding the one you love...is finding yourself, 1977/2010
Part 2 of 7, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 77.17h x 7.88w in (196h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Finding the one you love...is finding yourself, 1977/2010
Part 3 of 7, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 77.17h x 7.88w in (196h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Finding the one you love...is finding yourself, 1977/2010
Part 4 of 7, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 77.17h x 7.88w in (196h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Finding the one you love...is finding yourself, 1977/2010
Part 5 of 7, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 77.17h x 7.88w in (196h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Finding the one you love...is finding yourself, 1977/2010
Part 6 of 7, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 77.17h x 7.88w in (196h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, Finding the one you love...is finding yourself, 1977/2010
Part 7 of 7, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 77.17h x 7.88w in (196h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, I Heard My Sister Speak My Name, 1977/2010
Part 1 of 8, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 88.19h x 7.88w in (224h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, I Heard My Sister Speak My Name, 1977/2010
Part 2 of 8, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 88.19h x 7.88w in (224h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, I Heard My Sister Speak My Name, 1977/2010
Part 3 of 8, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 88.19h x 7.88w in (224h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, I Heard My Sister Speak My Name, 1977/2010
Part 4 of 8, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 88.19h x 7.88w in (224h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, I Heard My Sister Speak My Name, 1977/2010
Part 5 of 8, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 88.19h x 7.88w in (224h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, I Heard My Sister Speak My Name, 1977/2010
Part 6 of 8, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 88.19h x 7.88w in (224h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, I Heard My Sister Speak My Name, 1977/2010
Part 7 of 8, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 88.19h x 7.88w in (224h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, I Heard My Sister Speak My Name, 1977/2010
Part 8 of 8, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 88.19h x 7.88w in (224h x 20w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 1 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 2 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 3 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 4 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 5 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 6 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 7 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 8 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 9 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 10 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP
Cutting Out the New York Times, The Renaissance Man is Back in Business, 1977/2010
Part 11 of 11, Toner ink on adhesive paper, 11.02h x 86.60w in (27.99h x 219.97w cm)
Edition of 8 with 1 AP

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in White grates coconut in her kitchen, with the fir-palm tree outside, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Nantucket Memorial stands motionlessly in the stream, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: Two Art Snobs dissect who’s who and what’s what in the art world, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Teenager in Magenta stands depressed on the bank of the stream, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Nantucket Memorial guides the Woman in Red to the other side of the stream, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman, the Teenager in Magenta, and the Little Girl in Pink Sash steady each other’s footing, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The three enter the stream, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: Preceded by the Nantucket Memorial, the three make their way down, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red, the Teenager in Magenta, and the Little Girl in Pink Sash wade the stream, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: They exit the bridge tunnel at The Loch’s end, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Lorraine O'Grady

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in the White Kitchen tastes her coconut, 1982/2015

Digital C-print from Kodachrome 35mm slides in 48 parts

16h x 20w in
40.64h x 50.80w cm

LO312-EC1

Rivers, First Draft: A Little Girl with Pink Sash memorizes her Latin lesson, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red tries to join the Black Male Artists but is ejected by them, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red hesitates outside after the Black Male Artists in Yellow eject her, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: She descends to the stream where the white stove is standing, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red begins to break away from the Debauchees, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Debauchees intersect the Woman in Red, and the rape begins, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Artists in Yellow work on their projects as the Woman in Red struggles with the Debauchees, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red starts painting the stove her own color, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The stove becomes more and more red, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in White works impassively, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red cooks, and the Teenager in Magenta lies curled across the stream, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red, on a bed jutting into the water, skims an accordion-folded album of photos, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: As if from its pages, the Nude Swimmer emerges from the water and fondles her, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red returns to her album, and the Nantucket Memorial comes to life, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Art Snobs comment for the last time, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: She is absorbed, but the Memorial insists, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Debauchees dance down the hill, the Woman in Red falls further behind, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Art Snobs briefly stop bantering, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Young Man pulls away, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Debauchees dance in place, and the Woman in Red catches up to them, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Young Man in Green rouses the Teenager from depression, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Nantucket Memorial blends into the granite and the stream, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Debauchees ignore the Woman in Red, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Young Man in Green enters the scene, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Teenager in Magenta sits alone with her headphones, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Gold rejects the Woman in Red, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Teenager curls up in a fetal position, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Art Snobs’ chatter continues, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in White continues grating coconut, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red walks toward the studio of the Black Artists in Yellow, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in Red goes to the Black Male Artists’ door and the Debauchees dance back up the hill, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: Their flirtation begins, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: As the Black Artists in Yellow work in their studio, the Debauchees enter at the top of the hill, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Young Man in Green makes love to the Teenager in Magenta, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Young Man prepares to leave, and the Teenager tries to hold on to him, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Debauchees dance to New Wave music with the Woman in Red following, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in White eats coconut and looks away from the action, 1982/2015

Digital C-print in 48 parts, 16h x 20w in (40.64h x 50.80w cm)

Edition of 8 with 2 APs

Press Release

Alexander Gray Associates presented an exhibition of artworks by Lorraine O’Grady, focusing on two early series that are foundations for O’Grady’s performance and critical development, representing two approaches to finding one’s personal and artistic self. The exhibition debuted photographs of O’Grady’s performance work, Rivers, First Draft (1982/2015) and featured selections from her first collages Cutting Out The New York Times (1977/2015). The works reveal the artist’s nuanced perspectives on art history—specifically Dada and Surrealism— and the topical issues of the late-1970s and early 1980s, when Multiculturalism and Feminism were articulated and tested in the art world. Typical for O’Grady’s practice, complex theoretical concerns collide with the mining of family history, and the works from this period result in deeply personal portraits of the artist’s community and values, taking form in New York—the city, its art world, and its media.

The exhibition included a selection of collaged poems from the series, Cutting Out The New York Times. The series was created over twenty-six consecutive Sundays during the summer of 1977, resulting in twenty-six text-based images assembled from headlines and advertising tag-lines. O’Grady explains, “I would smoosh the cut scraps around on the floor until a poem appeared.” At that time, O’Grady was teaching the course “Futurist, Dada and Surrealist Literature” at the School of Visual Arts in New York, while simultaneously exploring alternative avenues of creative fulfillment and expression. Her interest lay in challenging the Dadaists’ and Surrealists’ embrace of the random and irrational as oppositional attitudes to rational Western society, O’Grady welcomed the random in order to expose and force meaning back into it, making instead “an effort to construct out of that random public language a private-self, to rescue a kind of rational madness from the irrational Western culture I felt inundated by.” Reproductions of the original collages were applied directly to the wall, moving the word from the page to three-dimensional space, further developing an aesthetic exercise, exploring a means of visual and performative expression beyond the purely linguistic. Relating the poems to Concrete Poetry, O’Grady creates their visuality through the linear and syncopating placement of the cut-outs. The juxtapositions of size and style between the typefaces add to the collages’ visual rhythm. The poems themselves touch on themes such as love, family, womanhood, hybridity, race, and self, subjects that would unfold in O’Grady’s subsequent performances and artworks.

Also included in the exhibition was an installation of the photographic series Rivers, First Draft (1982/2015), including forty-eight images of the 1982 performance O’Grady created for the public art program, “Art Across the Park.” Rivers, First Draft was performed in the Loch, a northern section of Central Park, on August 18 and was envisioned by O’Grady as a “collage-in-space,” with different actions taking place simultaneously on two sides of a stream and further up a hill. She describes the performance’s structure as a “three-ring circus,” in which multiple temporalities and micro-narratives coexist and speak to O’Grady’s life experiences. The narratives that compete for attention present multiple realities with the aim of uniting two different heritages, the Caribbean and New England, and three different ages and aspects of O’Grady’s self, family dynamics, and artistic identity. As O’Grady states, “In my work I keep trying to yoke together my underlying concerns as member of the human species with my concerns as a black woman in America… because I don’t see how history can be divorced from ontogeny and still produce meaningful political solutions.” The piece was performed only once, for a small invited audience of friends from Just Above Midtown gallery and the occasional passersby. It involved seventeen performers, including O’Grady, with precisely designed costumes and props. The characters were designated by their vibrantly colored clothing, such as the Woman in Red (O’Grady’s adult self), the Woman in White (O’Grady’s mother), the Teenager in Magenta (O’Grady’s adolescent self), the Young Man in Green, and the Black Male Artists in Yellow. Performed in the daylight, the lush green sun-dappled nature of the Loch was a prominent backdrop, adding to the conglomeration of saturated color and sound. O’Grady’s succinct selection and cropping of images reflect this simultaneity and the dream-like quality of the original performance. Only Kodachrome 35 mm slides of the piece survive to memorialize the event. In collaboration with Kodak, the 2015 manifestation of Rivers, First Draft captures the rich colors and deep contrasts of the performance, achieved with analog and digital technology and photographic paper from Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, NY. For O’Grady, “The paper and the process created a perfect expression of the here and then of this new/old work.”