Lorraine O'Grady (photograph by Elia Alba)
Lorraine O’Grady (b. 1934) is an artist and critic whose installations, performances, and texts address issues of diaspora, hybridity, and black female subjectivity. Born in Boston to West Indian parents, O’Grady came to art late, not making her first works until 1980. After majoring in economics and literature, she’d had several careers: as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. government, a successful literary and commercial translator, even a rock critic. The New York Times has subsequently called her “one of the most interesting American conceptual artists around.” And her landmark performance, Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, was made one of the entry points to WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (2007), the first-ever museum exhibit of this major art movement.
On the occasion of her solo exhibition Lorraine O'Grady: Where Margins Become Centers at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the artist discusses her rich and critically engaged practice. The lecture is organized in conjunction and with support from the Harvard Art Museums.
Born in Boston in 1934 to West Indian parents, Lorraine O’Grady's work has been recently exhibited at MoMA PS1, New York (2014); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2014); Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2013 and 2012); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2012), the Whitney Biennial, New York (2012 and 2010); Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar (2012); La Triennale Paris 2012, France (2012); Prospect.2 New Orleans, LA (2011); Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2011); Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain (2010); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008); Art Institute of Chicago, IL (2008); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2007). Her work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA; Walter Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, Cambridge, MA. O’Grady has been a resident artist at Artpace San Antonio, TX, and has received numerous other awards, including the CAA Distinguished Feminist Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Howard University, the Art Matters grant, the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship and, most recently, is a Creative Capital Awardee in Visual Art.