Lorraine O’Grady: Where Margins Become Centers
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Boston, MA
The exhibition features art from six bodies of work dating from 1977 to 2015 including photography, film, collage, performance documentation and writing. The works collected for this exhibition reveal the artist’s ongoing interest in the systemic powers affecting social behavior. O’Grady was born in Boston to upper-middle-class West Indian parents and educated at Wellesley. Her inherited biculturalism⎯a young black woman coming of age in rarefied New England⎯and participation in interracial relationships are grounds for a unique perspective from both within and on the periphery of diverse social spheres. These binary oppositions provide the basis for astute observations on human civilization, often deployed in the form of the diptych and notable in the series Miscegenated Family Album and The First and the Last of the Modernists on view at the Carpenter Center. Juxtaposing and collaging seemingly disparate dichotomies, the artist uses the extreme margins to explore the central undergirding supporting social oppositions, challenging what is falsely agreed upon in a march toward dismantling accepted constructs.