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Project: MBN — 30 Years Later

Lorraine O'Grady's performance persona Mlle Bourgeoise Noire transforms into a new avatar who protests a money-driven art world to restore the cultural purpose it has lost. In absurdist actions that take place in live performances, videos, photos, media ads and billboards, all the battles are lost—but memories of her impossible fight remain.

Awardee: Lorraine O'Grady

Visual Arts, 2015

Lorraine O'Grady is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist whose performances, photo and video installations, and writings locate timeless values in such topical issues as diaspora, hybridity, and black female subjectivity. At the same time, her work also politically shifts art discourse to show that such topics are not peripheral but central, that they profoundly shape global culture and contemporary art. The New York Times in 2006 called her “one of the most interesting American conceptual artists around.” Raised in Boston by Jamaican immigrant parents, O'Grady has said, “Wherever I stand, I must build a bridge to some other place.” O'Grady came to art late, after other careers; Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, her first public work, premiered when she was 45 and fully formed. This, combined with a hybrid upbringing, contributed to a critical distance on the art world and an eclectic attitude toward making art.

http://lorraineogrady.com/