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Art Is...(Dancer in Grass Skirt)


Lorraine O'Grady (American, b. 1934), Art Is...(Dancer in Grass Skirt), 1983 image capture / 2009 print
Photo Credit: 

Laura Shea

Not On View
O'Grady, Lorraine
American (1934- )
Place made: 
North America; United States; New York State; New York City
Art Is...(Dancer in Grass Skirt), 1983 capture; 2009 print
Chromogenic print
Mat: 20 in x 24 in; 50.8 cm x 61 cm; Sheet: 16 in x 20 1/16 in; 40.6 cm x 51 cm; Image: 14 3/8 in x 19 3/8 in; 36.5 cm x 49.2 cm
Purchase with the Henry Rox Memorial Fund for the Acquisition of Works by Contemporary Women Artists
MH 2018.4.1

In September 1983 conceptual artist Lorraine O’Grady performed her acclaimed piece, Art Is . . ., enlisting 15 young actors and dancers to literally “frame” viewers with ornate gold frames to shouts of “Frame me, make me art!” and “That’s right, that’s what art is, WE’RE the art!” Art Is. . . was conceived by O’Grady as a response to a friend who said “Avant-garde art doesn’t have anything to do with black people.” O’Grady’s response was to put avant-garde art into the largest black space she could think of — the Harlem African American Day Parade. These two photographs are from a series of 40 taken during the performance in 1983 and printed in 2009.
– Relyn Myrthil ’19, Emilee Aguerrebere ’20, and Mac Chambers ‘19

These two works were selected by Mount Holyoke College students through Our Museum, 'Our Voices: Art Acquisition Initiative'. The Museum would like to thank Emilee Aguerrebere ’20, Mac Chambers ’19, Juliana Cordero ’18, Simi Esan ’18, Tori Gernert-Dott ’20, Rachel Kim ’21, Molly Libbey ’18, Serena McDonald-Newman ’20, and Relyn Myrthil ’19 for their important role in bringing these works to MHCAM.