September 21, 2021 –
July 30, 2022
This year-long research season uses the work of the artist Lorraine O'Grady as a lens to think about our contemporary moment.

With her work as our point of departure, a year-long schedule of public events includes lectures, performances, screenings, and events with other artists and thinkers who emerge as relevant in productive ways.

Please join the collective conversation as it evolves over the course of the year: attend an event, consult some of the online resources, and visit the Wattis bar for additional materials. Please sign up to our newsletter to receive notifications and updates.

The CCA faculty group who collaborated on this research includes Kota Ezawa (Film), Jeanne Finley (Film), Jacqueline Francis (Visual and Critical Studies), Jeanne Gerrity (Wattis), Becca Imrich (Photography), Michelle Murillo (Printmedia), Kim Nguyen (Wattis), Peter Simensky (Sculpture and Community Arts), Sam Vernon (Printmedia), Leila Weefur (Critical Ethnic Studies), and Allison Yasukawa (Multilingual Art and Design Pedagogy), assisted by Zalika Azim and Selam Bekele.

With special thanks to Lorraine O'Grady, Ursula Davila, and Page Benkowski.

Season 8: Lorraine O'Grady is on our mind is curated by Kim Nguyen and Jeanne Gerrity.

(Learn more about our research seasons and explore past seasons.) 

Lorraine O'Grady is on our mind.

Lorraine O'Grady, 'Sisters 1 (L: Nefertiti, R: Devonia)' from 'Miscegenated Family Album,' 1980/1994.
Lorraine O'Grady, "Sisters 1 (L: Nefertiti, R: Devonia)" from "Miscegenated Family Album," 1980/1994.

by Kim Nguyen

Every research season has a different rhythm and energy to it — each one brings together a different set of participants, themes, and questions, and we follow wherever the work takes us, rather than overly determine our directions. This organic approach has not felt as necessary as it did this year, as we grappled with how to engage with one another and learned how to function in this world. It goes without saying this reading group took place during a global pandemic. There was — is — nothing typical about this time. Things remain vulnerable and uncertain and our conversations, and this season as a whole, do not exist in a timeless vacuum, exempt from history. This season exists in the context of our times, and taking care of each other — mentally, emotionally, socially — remains at the forefront of our conversations as we follow the work of Lorraine O’Grady in the months ahead.

We asked, how can we think about translation across space? Especially in the context of diaspora, hybridity, and what O’Grady refers to as the “straddling of origin and destination”?

(...continue reading)

Lorraine O'Grady, 'Finding the One You Love. . . Is Finding Yourself (Part 2 of 7)' from 'Cutting out CONYT,' 1977/2017.
Lorraine O'Grady, "Finding the One You Love. . . Is Finding Yourself (Part 2 of 7)" from "Cutting out CONYT," 1977/2017.

More about the artist:

Lorraine O’Grady (born 1934, Boston, MA) is a conceptual artist and cultural critic, whose work addresses issues of diaspora, Black female subjectivity, and racial hybridity. Her multifaceted practice—which includes text, photo installation, video, and performance—is dedicated to reorienting systems, structures, and language. Over the past three decades O’Grady’s work has operated as an unrelenting critique of the institution and its oppressive machinations, persistently raising questions about the lack of Black representation in art and in the art world at large. She became an active voice within the alternative New York art world starting in the late 1970s, tackling cultural perspectives that had been historically underrepresented during the feminist movements earlier in the decade.

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Schedule of Events (September 2021-July 2022)

On September 21 we begin with a lecture by Catherine Morris, Sackler Senior Curator at the Brooklyn Museum who, with Aruna D’Souza, is curator of O’Grady’s retrospective Both/And.

On November 18, we continue with Perez Art Museum Director Franklin Sirmans, who gives a talk on Just Above Midtown (JAM), the influential New York gallery founded by Linda Goode Bryant, where, in 1980, Lorraine O'Grady debuted her persona Mlle Bourgeoisie Noire.

On December 1, we host an in-person screening of Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust (1991), and, on December 15, a virtual presentation by Oakland-based curatorial collective The Black Aesthetic engage with Dash’s films alongside Lorraine O’Grady’s essay, “The Cave.”

Every month between December 2021 and March 2022, Selam Bekele and Meghan Smith host an online Lorraine O'Grady Film Club, pairing films by Julie Dash, Kathleen Collins, Barry Jenkins, and Cheryl Dunye with different aspects of O'Grady's work.

...and more programs to come