Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And

Copublished with the Brooklyn Museum in 2021
Edited by Catherine Morris and Aruna D’Souza
With texts by Harry Burke, Aruna D’Souza, Malik Gaines, Catherine Morris, Zoe Whitley, and Stephanie Sparling Williams. Timeline by A.L. Ricard. Interview with the artist by Catherine Lord.
226 pages, 240 color images, hardcover, 8 ¾ x 10 ¾ inches
Distributed by D.A.P.
ISBN: 978-0-8727318-6-8


Out of stock

Conceptual performance artist Lorraine O’Grady burst into the contemporary art world in 1980 dressed in a gown made of 180 pairs of white gloves and wielding a chrysanthemum-studded whip. For the next three years, O’Grady documented her exploits as this incendiary fictional persona, visiting gallery openings and providing critiques of the racial politics at play in the New York art scene. The resulting series, Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, was merely the beginning of a long career of avant-garde work that would continue to build upon O’Grady’s conceptions of self and subjectivity as seen from the perspective of a Black woman artist. This survey of O’Grady’s work spans four decades of her career and features nearly all of her major projects, as well as Announcement, the opening series of a new performance piece seven years in the making. Contextualized by an extensive timeline with letters, journal entries, and interviews, Both/And provides a long-overdue, close examination of O’Grady’s artistic and intellectual ambitions.

Before she became an artist at the age of 45, Lorraine O’Grady (born 1934) worked as an intelligence analyst for the United States government, a translator, and a rock music critic for the Village Voice and Rolling Stone. O’Grady’s unique life experiences, as well as her identity as a diasporic subject, have informed her multidisciplinary practice across live performance, video, photomontage, public art, and cultural criticism.

Praise and Press

This much-anticipated retrospective, with its invaluable catalogue, highlighted the signal contribution O’Grady has made to the discourse of identity politics over five decades. Turning to visual art in her mid-forties after stints as an intelligence analyst for the US government, a translator, and a rock-music critic for the Village Voice and Rolling Stone, O’Grady was keenly aware of the pressure of time and, consequently, the need to make every project count. The thirteen projects featured in Both/And variously straddled Conceptual art, performance, video, and photo- and text-based works. Identifying as a diasporic subject, O’Grady not only challenged second-wave feminism for its marginalization of Black women, she focused on racial exclusion in the art world more generally in fiercely intelligent, subversive work laced with wit and humor.

—Lynne Cooke, Best of 2021, Artforum

Artist and writer Lorraine O’Grady’s retrospective exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum covers four decades of her work along with a new performance piece, Announcement. Both/And is the accompanying catalogue, which Walton calls “super important to have.” In addition to a survey of her work, the book also includes letters, journal entries, and interviews, which offer insight into her process and art.

—Tembe Denton-Hurst, New York Magazine

Both/And feels closer to a recuperation project than an exploration of new theories and new forms, even as some of the essays reach into O’Grady’s oeuvre as if it were a packet of Fun Dip, creating crackly sparks with the new connections they forge.

—Rahel Aima, Bookforum

Both/and thinking posits a refusal of either/or framework that is endemic to the West. In disavowing binaristic thinking, we can instead dwell on the nuance of the world’s disarray and uncertainty.

—Alexandra M. Thomas, Hyperallergic

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