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The Cultural Construction of Identity

The knotty interrelations between text and image

Lorraine O’Grady
collaged words on white background read in part "only one connecting flight leads from perseid shower delights to a lost..."
Cutting Out CONYT 23, 1977/2017. Images courtesy Alexander McGray Associates, New York. © Lorraine O’Grady/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The artist and cultural critic Lorraine O’Grady has spent nearly fifty years tackling the knotty interrelations between text and image, a career that includes conceptual and performance art and essays such as “Olympia’s Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity,” a foundational text in the feminist art history canon.

Her 1977 work, Cutting Out the New York Times, consists of twenty-six poems made from cut up Sunday editions of the newspaper. Forty years later, she has reimagined and reshaped the original works into twenty-six “haiku diptychs” in Cutting Out COTNYT. She writes, “Produced with 40 more years of life and aesthetic experience, I feel that it embraces the mysterious intertwinings of narrative and politics, post-blackness and blackness in a way that Cutting Out The New York Times could not accomplish or even imagine.”

– Eugenia Bell


collaged words on white background reading in part "reckless storytelling star words and the deluxe almost-everything-inc..."
Cutting Out CONYT 03, 1977/2017
collaged words on white background reading in part "in the amber glow of august skin there is no escape from terror..."
Cutting Out CONYT 15, 1977/2017
words collaged on white background reading in part "White and Black and the sound that shook Hollywood the crisis deepens..."
Cutting Out CONYT 20, 1977/2017
Lorraine O’Grady is an artist and critic whose installations, performances, and texts address issues of diaspora, hybridity, and black female subjectivity, with special reference to the role these have played in the history of modernism.
Originally published:
December 1, 2020

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