Lorraine O’Grady creates conceptual and performance-art pieces that unfailingly address difficult subjects. Her complex cultural heritage is one of them. O’Grady’s origins are Caribbean, African, and European. She is also a Black woman living in the United States. At the 1983 African-American Day parade in Harlem—on a float titled “ART IS …”—she dressed Black and Latino performers completely in white and gave them empty gold picture frames with which to re-frame themselves and others. “I believe that 50 percent of the people got it,” she says, “they were very self-consciously turning themselves into art objects.” O’Grady has worked this way since the 1980s, pointing up the important role of Blackness in Western modernism. In Brooklyn, 12 major projects from her four-decade career are on view. —E.C.
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