LaToya Ruby Frazier limited-edition box set
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In her first monograph, The Notion of Family (Aperture, 2014), Guggenheim Fellow LaToya Ruby Frazier explores the legacy of racism and economic decline in post-industrial American small towns, as embodied by her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Photographing herself, her mother, and her grandmother Ruby, as well as the Braddock community, Frazier’s body of work is a highly personal and politically charged statement about the history of industrial decline and its effect on familial and communal relationships. While acknowledging the history of traditional black-and-white documentary photography, Frazier’s approach serves as an intervention in the histories and narratives of the region, through a multigenerational lens.
Momme ( Shadow), 2008, depicts the deadpan gaze of the photographer, with Frazier’s mother, a “coauthor, artist, photographer, and subject,” in the foreground, eyes closed and facing out of the frame. The image offers insight into their relationship, which Frazier explains “primarily exists through the process of making images." In the creation of these collaborative works, Frazier reinforces the idea of art and image-making as a transformative act, a means of resetting traditional power dynamics and narratives, both those of her family and those of the community at large.
The limited-edition box set includes an 11-by-14-inch gelatin-silver print of Momme (Shadow), 2008, as well as a signed copy of The Notion of Family.
LaToya Ruby Frazier (born in Braddock, Pennsylvania, 1982) received her BFA in photography and graphic design in 2004 at Edinboro University, Pennsylvania, and her MFA in 2007 from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, New York. In 2011, Frazier completed the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program and shortly thereafter was appointed Critic in Photography at the Yale University School of Art. She has received numerous grants and awards, including a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has been included in exhibitions at major institutions worldwide.
Dawoud Bey (interview) is well-known for his own work as a photographer and has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including a mid-career survey at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in 1995. He is a professor of art and a Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago.
Laura Wexler (essay) is professor and co-chair of the Women’s Faculty Forum at Yale University, as well as the founder and director of the Photographic Memory Workshop at Yale. Her books include the award-winning Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U. S. Imperialism (2000).
Dennis C. Dickerson (essay) is the James M. Lawson, Jr. Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of several titles focusing on American labor history and the civil rights movement, including Out of the Crucible: Black Steel Workers in Western Pennsylvania, 1875–1980 (1986).