New acquisitions (photos by LaToya Ruby Frazier)

 LaToya Ruby Frazier

on view through July 13, 2014
Art Since the mid-20th Century

Above: LaToya Ruby Frazier, American, born 1982, Momme, 2008, gelatin silver print, Chapin Riley Fund, 2013.13, ©LaToya Ruby Frazier

A selection of five images from an edition of 15 photographs by LaToya Ruby Frazier, created from 2002-2009 and recently acquired by the Museum, will be on view through July in the Art Since the mid-20th Century galleries. Photographed in various rooms of Frazier’s family house in her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, once a thriving steel mill town, these images reveal complex intergenerational relationships and an intertwining of people and place. Families, like hers, who remained amidst abandoned businesses, crumbling infrastructure, and industrial pollution also found themselves subject to widespread disparagement in the press. “Every stereotype you can think of,” Frazier says,” is what I grew up seeing in the media. We were demonized as bad, poor, black drug addicts.”

Sensitized to the individual lives affected, Frazier photographed what she describes as “the story of economic globalization and the decline of manufacturing as told through the bodies of three generations of African American women” — her grandmother, mother, and herself. With an extraordinary emotional authenticity in which her subjects assert their own identities, Frazier’s images have complicated and enriched the traditions of portrait and social documentary photography.

Frazier (born 1982) is a Lecturer in Photography at the Mason Gross School of the Arts and Associate Curator for the Mason Gross Galleries at Rutgers University. She is also Critic in Photography at Yale University School of Art. Her work was included in the New Museum’s Younger Than Jesus triennial (2009), in the Whitney Biennial (2012), and in solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and the ICA, Boston (all 2013).