INDEPENDENT CURATORS INTERNATIONAL
EN MAS’

Lorraine O’Grady

  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking for a Headdress, digital photograph constructed from video stills, dimensions variable, 2014.
  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking for a Headdress, Video Still #3, 2014.
  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking for a Headdress, Video Still #4, 2014.
  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking for a Headdress, Video Still #5, 2014.
  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking for a Headdress, Video Still #6, 2014.
  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking for a Headdress, Video Still #8, 2014.
  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking for a Headdress, Video Still #9, 2014.
  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking for a Headdress, Video Still #10, 2014.

Looking for a Headdress, Brooklyn, NY, United States

Looking for a Headdress is a combined reaction, live-footage, and YouTube-excerpt video that examines the relation of two contemporary artists and intellectuals from the Caribbean and its diaspora to carnival. It contains unpublished footage of the 2014 West Indian American Day Carnival Parade on Labor Day in Brooklyn, YouTube video excerpts of Brazilian carnivals from 1989 to 2014, and historic lithographs of Jamaican carnival by Isaac Mendes Belisario published in 1837. This combined footage is in turn overlaid with the complex personal and intellectual reactions of Andil Gosine (Trinidadian Canadian) and Lorraine O’Grady (Jamaican American). Though the two appear only for a few moments in the video, they are ever-present on the soundtrack as their voice-over narration competes with the music of carnival. A conflation of classic documentary and new-format "reaction video," Looking for a Headdress charts the diary of an individual artist's journey in the studio against the vicissitudes of Caribbean carnival as it travels across diasporic time and space.


In Looking for a Headdress, O’Grady, born in Boston of Jamaican parents and now an artist living and working in New York, impressionistically relives her search for a Caribbean carnival headdress to complete the costume of a new persona who wears a body garment derived from European literature. O'Grady first discusses the relations of "Diasporans" to carnival with her friend Andil Gosine, an Indo-Trinidadian emigrant at fifteen to Canada and now an associate professor of sociology and gender studies at York University in Toronto, and then walks Gosine through an organic but fraught process of looking for a headdress based in a Caribbean cultural form. Without describing the costume or indicating the outcome, nor shaping his response in any way, she shares with Gosine the video and other sources she was looking at when making her decision, so as to see how his responses compare with hers.

Updates


About the Artist

Lorraine O’Grady

Lorraine O’Grady is an artist and critic whose installations, performances, and texts address issues of diaspora, hybridity, and black female subjectivity. The New York Times in 2006 called her “one of the most interesting American conceptual artists around.” And in 2007 her landmark performance, Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, was made one of the entry points to WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, the first-ever museum exhibit of this major art movement.

Born in Boston in 1934 to West Indian parents, O’Grady came to art late, not making her first works until 1980. After majoring in economics and literature, she’d had several careers: as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. government, a successful literary and commercial translator, even a rock critic. Ultimately, her broad background contributed to a distanced and critical view of the art world when she entered it and to an unusually eclectic attitude toward art-making. In O’Grady’s work, the idea tends to come first, and then a medium is employed to best execute it.


INDEPENDENT CURATORS INTERNATIONAL
401 BROADWAY, SUITE 1620
NEW YORK, NY 10013
T: +1 212 254 8200 F: +1 212 477 4781
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)