We Did It for Love

Artist: Otabenga Jones & Associates
installation | Mixed media | 2005

Otabenga Jones & Associates is an organization founded by Otabenga Jones and whose other members include artists Dawolu Jabari Anderson, Jamal Cyrus, Kenya Evans, and Robert A. Pruitt (the latter four are also in the 2006 Biennial, independent of the organization). The group works under the tutelage of Mr. Jones, who is named after Ota Benga, the African Pygmy brought to the United States in 1904 and later exhibited at the Bronx Zoo, and this historical reference to the pseudoanthro-pological penchant for exhibiting Africans and other non-Western peoples in world's fairs and other such exhibitions of the time is an indicator of the group's intent. Their pedagogical mission, realized in the form of actions, writings, and installations, is to highlight the complexities of representation across the African diaspora; to establish a cross-generational aesthetic continuum stemming from the transatlantic experience; and, as they write in their mission statement, quoting from Sam Greenlee's classic satirical novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1969), "to mess wit' whitey."


Whitney Biennial 2006 | 2006.03.02 - 2006.05.28 | Whitney Museum of American Art (old museum)(New York City, NY, United States)