Lorraine O'Grady: Art Is...
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Harlem, New York
In her landmark performance Art Is…, Lorraine O’Grady entered her own float in the September 1983 African-American Day Parade, riding up Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (Seventh Avenue) with fifteen collaborators dressed in white. Displayed on top of the float was an enormous, ornate gilded frame, while the words “Art Is…” were emblazoned on the float’s decorative skirt. At various points along the route, O’Grady and her collaborators jumped off the float and held up empty, gilded picture frames, inviting people to pose in them. The joyful responses turned parade onlookers into participants, affirmed the readiness of Harlem’s residents to see themselves as works of art, and created a record of the people and places of Harlem some thirty years ago. These color slides were taken by various people who witnessed the performance, and were later collected by O’Grady to compose the series. The forty images on view capture the energy and spirit of the original performance.
Lorraine O'Grady: Art Is... is organized by Amanda Hunt, Assistant Curator.