Lorraine O'Grady

1997 Vera List Center Fellow
Lorraine O'Grady is an artist living in New York City.

Programs and projects
Miscegenated Modernism: The Black/White Co-Creation of 20th Century Culture, The Legacy of the Feminist Art Movement, and Art and Politics: Women in Theatre

Lorraine O'Grady is a performance and installation artist based in New York City. Born in 1934, she was educated at Wellesley College and the Iowa Writers Workshop and, following careers as a research economist, translator, and rock critic, began making art in 1980. Her work, dealing with issues of hybridity, diaspora, and black female subjectivity, contains an unusual amalgam of abrasive political content united with beauty and formal elegance. An analysis of cultural politics via a deceptively pleasing aesthetic harmony has characterized O'Grady's work from her earliest performances, such as Mlle Bourgeoise Noire and Nefertiti/Devonia Evangeline, to more recent photo-installations such as Flowers of Evil and Good.

O'Grady has had solo exhibits in the Matrix series of the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, and at the Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, and her group exhibits include Outside the Frame: Performance & The Object, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art; New Histories, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; NowHere, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; and Between the Lines, Daniel Reich temp. at the Chelsea Hotel. Her work is featured in the first museum show of feminist art, Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution, opening at the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art (Geffen Contemporary) in March 2007. In addition, O'Grady's writing and criticism has appeared in such publications as Artforum, Afterimage, X-tra, and the CAA's Art Journal. Her influential article "Olympia's Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity" is widely anthologized; she was also an important contributor to The 1980s: An Internet Conference, edited by Maurice Berger.

Writing in the New York Times of O'Grady's appearance at Daniel Reich temp, Holland Cotter described her as "one of the most interesting American conceptual artists around." (Biography as of 2006)