Lorraine O'Grady: Cutting Out CONYT
December 15, 2018 – April 28, 2019
Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Germany
The institution's press release follows:
Lorraine O'Grady (1934 USA) is considered one of the most interesting representatives of American conceptual art. Her idiosyncratic artistic work is characterized by great diversity and the use of various media. She became known to a wide audience through the performance series Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, in which O'Grady protested in the role of an angry beauty queen against racial discrimination in the art world of the 1980s and the lack of attention of the feminist movement on issues of class inequality. Discrimination, feminism, self-assertion, the problems of minorities are topics that Lorraine O'Grady repeatedly revisits and questions in the course of her long artistic career. The Municipal Gallery Wolfsburg presents with the edition Cutting Out CONYT (1977/2017) the resumption of a series of collages in which O'Grady compiled excerpts from successive Sunday editions of the New York Times from 5 June to 20 November 1977 to poems, the new arrangement of the 26 leaves as "haiku diptychs" creates a bridge between the early and late works. It is the artist's first solo exhibition in a German museum.
Lorraine O'Grady was born in Boston as a daughter of Caribbean immigrants and came late to fine art. After completing her studies in economics and Spanish literature at Wellesley College in 1956, she worked as a secret service analyst for the United States Government. As part of this activity, she had daily read ten national and international newspapers and during the Cuban crisis, in addition three daily Cuban radio broadcasts and the news of various agents. O'Grady reports that at that time, the language "collapsed" for her and merged into a big porridge. She gave up the activity. Before she devoted herself to the fine arts at the end of the 1970s, she was a translator for literature and business and wrote rock reviews for The Village Voice and Rolling Stone. The broad horizon of experience allowed the artist a distanced and critical view of the art world. Lorraine O'Grady became an active voice in the then alternative New York art world.