Lot Details

This artwork is being auctioned in conjunction with the Brooklyn Artists Ball, celebrating women artists and the fifth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. All proceeds from the auction benefit the Museum's education, exhibition, and outreach programs .The artwork in this auction will be on view at the museum from April 13-18 and will be showcased at the Brooklyn Artists Ball Benefit on Wednesday, April 18th. For more information please call (718) 501-6423 or email auction@brooklynmuseum.org

Photo-document of performance at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY, 1981, 10 x 8 in. digital print, 2012. Glove from Mlle Bourgeoise Noire's collection, 1980. Box produced for a Benefit Fundraiser Courtesy of: Mlle Bourgeoise Noire Archives, NY.

‘Mlle Bourgeoise Noire,’ O’Grady’s first public performance, remains the artist’s best known work. The persona first appeared in 1980 under the Futurist dictum that art has the power to change the world and was in part created as a critique on the racial apartheid still prevailing in the mainstream art world. Accompanying the photo-document of Lorraine O’Grady’s performance as ‘Mlle Bourgeoise Noire’ is a glove from the Mlle Bourgeoise Noire collection. As Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, or ‘Miss Black Middle-Class’ 1955, O’Grady donned a costume made of 180 pairs of white gloves from thrift shops around New York City. Her guerrilla style performances at art institutions, which catered to a mostly Caucasian audience, brought attention to the racial issues and injustices, prevalent in the 1950s, which were still existed in the 1980s.

Known for her powerful performance pieces and installations, Lorraine O’Grady (B. 1934) is a conceptual artist and critic who combines a sense of elegance with intellectually provocative ideas, turning her critical attitude towards the art world into unapologetic works which address themes of black feminism, issues of subjectivity, miscegenation, and political hypocrisies. Exploring race and identity is a fundamental aspect of O’Grady’s work, protesting the internalized repression and diaspora of black artists as well as their relationship to the art world, the African-American community, and historical contexts. During the 1980s the artist was instrumental in giving voice the new wave of feminism which strove to bring light to the flaws of the previous feminist movement of the 1970s, specifically speaking out against the utter lack of African American representation in the Women’s Action Coalition. The artist has received numerous awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, New York State Council on the Arts Fellowship, and United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. O’Grady has exhibited extensively with shows at the Museum of Contemporay Art (Los Angeles, CA), Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), and the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL), among others. The artist is currently represented by Alexander Gray Gallery.

Public Collections:
The Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Brooklyn Museum, NY
Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley, MA
Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, Cambridge, MA
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
Worcester Art Museum, MA

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  • Acquired directly from the artist
  • Pickup Location: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 1.25 in. (25.4 x 20.32 x 3.18 cm.)

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