Pax 3

Artist: Todd Gray
photography, miscellaneous | Three archival pigment prints in artist’s frames and found frames | 1238.3x977.9x88.9mm | 2017

Todd Gray’s works draw from his archive of photographs amassed during the past forty-five years. Taken in locations from Hollywood to Ghana (where he maintains a studio), these images have been selected by the artist to explore the complex interrelation of Blackness, diasporic identity, and historic systems of exploitation. For his ongoing series Exquisite Terribleness, begun in 2013, Gray collages photographs into layered arrangements of thrift- store frames, creating compositions of fragmented bodies. Many of the individual photographs Gray uses for the collages were shot following his own creative vision; others were commissioned, including many he took as Michael Jackson’s personal photographer in the 1970s and early 1980s. Jackson is significant here for Gray not as a celebrity or a figure of controversy, but as a global phenomenon whose almost mythic status serves to frame the complex issues explored in Gray’s work. Michael Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993 and then tried and acquitted for the crime in 2005. New allegations surfaced in a documentary released on HBO earlier in 2019. (Private Collection, Los Angeles. Image courtesy the artist and Meliksetian Briggs, Los Angeles)


Whitney Biennial 2019 | 2019.05.17 - 2019.09.22 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)