photo-installation 1980/94, Lorraine O’Grady , Cibachrome prints
“Attention to framing, both literal and
metaphorical, is key to understanding Conceptual artist Lorraine
O'Grady’s 1980/1994 photographic installation Miscegenated
Family Album. On first glance, the work’s pairing of family photos
with ancient statues of Nefertiti seems an elaborate and fantastic
way to establish royal lineage, but this family album has little to
do with genealogy. Instead it is a subtle recounting of O'Grady’s
strained relationship with her older sister, Devonia, a rift that
was not resolved before Devonia’s untimely death at 37. O'Grady
finds a striking parallel between her sister and Nefertiti, who
disappeared in her late thirties, leaving behind six children and
her younger sister Mutnedjmet. All the images in the album are
scaled identically, eliminating hierarchy and reinforcing a poetic
link between the two families.”
British artists and twin sisters Jane and Louise Wilson utilize photography and other media to revisit locations associated with recent European history. Their Sealander series, from 2006, features bunkers erected by Hitler along the European Atlantic coast during World War II. The Wilsons’ eerie photographs of these abandoned monuments are on view through July 2 at the Getty Center.
“Being trans right now necessitates this multihyphenate way of being,” Drucker says.
“I remember when we were installing the photographs at the Whitney, someone asked us: ‘Oh, this is great. Who was the photographer?’ ” Ernst told the bookstore crowd. “They assumed we were just the subjects, which is of course the history of this kind of work.
A glimpse into how a handful of trans people are transforming the arts and entertainment industries.
Although Ernst knew he wasn’t female, transitioning made him nervous, particularly because he knew few people who had done it. “It was still this kind of distant, weird relative of ‘gay and lesbian,’ and people didn’t understand it,” he says. Without public examples of happy, successful, aging trans people, he remembered wondering: Do people grow old? Do the hormones kill you? As a feminist, he asked himself: Do I even want to be a man?
He was also troubled by the fact that it is impossible to transition quietly. It feels extremely public, he explains, because essentially everyone else has to transition, too. “At what point would my mom change pronouns to her hairdresser when they chat about me? It really ripples. It feels like jumping off a cliff.”
Photo: Paul Sepuya, Study with Five Figures (3002), 2016
Paul Mpagi Sepuya is a photographer and artist currently based in Los Angeles. This is how he describes his creative practice: “I make photographs, books, and installations rooted in portraiture, homoerotic visual culture, and the function of the studio. Portraiture is the foundation of my practice. The subjects appearing in my work are a cast of friends, intimates and muses. They are founded in ongoing relationships mediated by the making and production of photographs.”