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LEFT: Lorraine O'Grady in her apartment, Christianshavn, Copenhagen, 1962. RIGHT: Lorraine O'Grady by Elia Alba, New York, 2014.

LEFT: Lorraine O'Grady in her apartment, Christianshavn, Copenhagen, 1962. RIGHT: Lorraine O'Grady by Elia Alba, New York, 2014.

How Artist Lorraine O’Grady Continues to Challenge Racism in the Art World

June 17, 2024

How Artist Lorraine O’Grady Continues to Challenge Racism in the Art World

Ask students: Where did O'Grady work in the 1950s? When did O'Grady become an artist herself? What fictional character did O'Grady create for herself?

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Some 50 years into her career and at almost 90-years-old, artist Lorraine O'Grady reflects on a life of struggles to be seen as continues to has her first-ever museum retrospective at Wellesley College's Davis Museum. If that sounds like an honor delayed, much of O'Grady's career has played out with a slow burn. She looks back at her long path into art world acceptance with Jared Bowen of GBH in Boston.

View the transcript of the story.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  1. Where did O'Grady work in the 1950s?
  2. When did O'Grady become an artist herself?
  3. What fictional character did O'Grady create for herself?
  4. How did O'Grady share her multiple identities through art?
  5. Why did O'Grady create the Mademoiselle Bourgeoise Noire figure?

Focus Questions

  • What impact do you think O'Grady's art had on the art world?
  • Media literacy: Lorraine O'Grady discusses the role of racism in her career, stating, "...they could not imagine a Black intellectual or a Black female intellectual. They had not seen it. And that was because the Black middle class was being willfully ignored." What follow up questions would you ask O'Grady about these sentiments?

Extension Activity

Learn about other unusual types of art, such as through this video about immersive art exhibitions.

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Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom
PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. The site combines the best of NewsHour's reliable, trustworthy news program with lesson plans developed specifically for... See More
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