Explore The Life and Works of Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Special Issue from The Atlantic

Special Issue from The Atlantic

Fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., The Atlantic commemorates his life and work—and reflects on the reality of today’s America through the prism of his vision.

The Atlantic’s new special issue takes the reader from King’s development as a young activist to the building of his campaign against what he called the “three major evils” of society: racism, poverty, and militarism.

The issue also juxtaposes speeches by King with original essays about the influence of his legacy and the unsteady progress toward his goals, covering terrain from pop culture to education to incarceration and activism.

Contributors include:

Dr. King’s youngest child, Bernice King, who wrote the issue’s introduction
Jesse Williams and John Legend on the intersection between art and activism
MacArthur fellows Matt Desmond, Jesmyn Ward, and LaToya Ruby Frazier
Representative John Lewis, who marched with King in Selma
Historian Jeanne Theoharis on Coretta Scott King and the hidden women of the movement
Voices from The Atlantic’s archives, including Stokely Carmichael, Jonathan Kozol, and Archibald MacLeish

Available for purchase from The Atlantic

LaToya Ruby Frazier: Documenting the American Family

NYR Daily
February 12, 2018
by Prudence Peiffer

In her first solo show, at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, LaToya Ruby Frazier uses the gallery’s grand, multistory Harlem building to great effect, staging her own grand, multistory portrait of the contemporary United States. The show begins on the ground floor with Frazier’s documentation of the Flint water crisis, and ends on the top floor with blazing scenes from the Californian desert. Along the way, three discrete series of gelatin silver prints, each on its own floor, demonstrate the endemic racism and hazardous decay of post-industrial America, the bond and burden of home for families caught amid these crises, and the redemptive potential of art to tell these stories. Like the camera’s technical process of exposure, Frazier brings things to light that would otherwise remain obscured. “I create visibility through images and storytelling,” she says in the show’s materials, in order “to expose the violation of… human rights.” Her black-and-white photographs are unsentimental witnesses to the furloughed American dream.

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Courtesy of: NYR Daily

Frazier at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise Harlem through February 25th, 2018

LaToya Ruby Frazier, Andrea Holding her daughter Nephratiti outside the Social Network Banquet Hall (2016 / 2017), all images via Gavin Brown’s

Art Observed
February 12, 2018
by O.C. Yerebakan

Frazier at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise Harlem
In her self-titled solo debut at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier illustrates an American landscape where dualities intertwine, marring the boundaries separating joy from despair or abundance from nothingness. Her depictions of secluded interiors, occupied by domestic clutters and family histories translate into stories of struggle, while barren deserts under the California sun encapsulate human ardor. Spanning her two decade photographic practice, Frazier’s three-floor presentation at the gallery’s spacious Harlem location introduces one series on each floor. Complimented by the accents of the building’s previous life as a brewery, the photographer’s black and white gelatin silver prints explore dichotomies of public and private, meditating on the role of the camera lens as a witness of our profound and collective moments, be those experienced firsthand or communally mediated.

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Courtesy of: Art Observed

Like Goya Turning His Eye Toward the Struggles and Triumphs of Black America

Photo: LaToya Ruby Frazier/Courtesy the Artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise; New York / Rome.



February 9, 2018
by Jerry Saltz

In the searingly honest, empathetic documentary images of self-described “artist, curator, educator, and photographer” LaToya Ruby Frazier, I see the rotten social malignancy that perpetuates entrenched racial discrimination that is deeply inscribed into law, lending, and health-care policies.

I also see obdurate white tribalism, the 55 percent of all white people and 75 percent of all Republicans who think that racial discrimination persists … but that it’s against white people.

I look at Frazier’s beautiful activist art — depictions of people with the courage and strength to live life amid Trumpian statecraft and everything that made it possible and consistent with our often-airbrushed history — and I behold an aesthetic passionate enough to possibly jar the art world from its ten-year fixation on insular formalist photography-about-photography. The films, texts, and photographs of this 2015 MacArthur “genius” give us one of the strongest artists to emerge in this country this century — a 36-year-old oracle calling for a new engaged “movement in photography” that bears witness to our state-sanctioned economic racism and environmental horrors.

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Courtesy of: Vulture


Community, Corrosion, and the Flint Water Crisis

Shea and Zion at the Badawest Restaurant on Corruna Road (2016–2017)

The Village Voice
January 26, 2018
by Siddhartha Mitter

In early 2016, the photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier spent five months in Flint, Michigan. The city — a deindustrialized shell long past its automotive glory days — was reeling from the water crisis that began two years before, when a state-appointed emergency manager decided to save money by drawing water from the heavily polluted Flint River. The poorly treated water, catastrophically high in lead, made residents severely ill and degraded local pipes. By the time Frazier arrived, Flint had reconnected to the Detroit water system, but the corrosion had left the water suspect, and public trust in government officials was demolished.

In Flint, Frazier embedded with Shea Cobb, a young school bus driver and poet, her daughter Zion, and her mother, Renée. Flint Is Family, the resulting black-and-white portfolio, depicts the water crisis — where just brushing one’s teeth is a resource decision with health and cost implications — from the point of view of this resilient matrilineage. It is the core of Frazier’s vital three-part exhibition at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, in Harlem, and a masterclass in collaborative work based on attention and intimacy. When President Obama came to Flint in May 2016 — the zenith of media attention to the crisis — Frazier was around, but she didn’t go to see him. Instead she visited with Shea’s aunt Denise and uncle Rodney, watching the president’s appearance in the gentle clutter of their family room. In her photograph, Denise and Rodney stand as they watch Obama, onscreen, take a sip of Flint water. They face three-quarters away from Frazier’s lens, leaving us to divine from their posture what they make of the scene.

Two days later, Frazier documented the wedding of Cobb’s niece Nephratiti. “Nobody thinks about water crises in marriage,” Cobb comments in a montage that screens in the show. “You don’t think about lead pipes and poison, all you think about is love and the bride and the groom.” The ceremony, in Frazier’s capture, is a bolt of joy rending the fluorescent tedium of the courthouse setting. She portrays Cobb with Zion and Ms. Renée outside the reception. Though her images also show us protesters in hazmat suits, a home vacated because of contamination, the city of Flint water plant — Frazier rented a helicopter to get aerial views — the experience is rigorously, empathically grounded in the life of this one family.

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Courtesy of: The Village Voice

LaToya Ruby Frazier At Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, NYC

“LaToya Ruby Frazier. Mom and Me on Her Couch. 2010” ©2018 LaToya Ruby Frazier

Forbes Magazine
January 24, 2018
by Clayton Press

Art can be as normal as life, but how lives are lived is infinitely variable, defying definitions of normalcy. The artistic life of LaToya Ruby Frazier has been well documented almost to the point of journalistic recycling. It is difficult to add to the facts and flavors. She began photographing her family at 16, gradually opening her lens to include her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, population 2,100, an impoverished Rust Belt borough outside of Pittsburgh. […]

While Frazier’s photography is frequently and understandably linked to the work of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Gordon Parks, it reaches farther precisely because Frazier is both documentarian and committed activist. Few artists choose this path and do it successfully, especially early in their careers. Martha Rosler, for one, has consistently connected life and art as an advocate activist.

Effectively, Frazier’s exhibition is a retrospective in three interrelated parts, but not presented in chronological order. Start in the middle on Floor 2 with The Notion of Family. It is a 13-year photographic document of Frazier in and a part of a three-generation Black matriarchy in Braddock. She is there, front and center with her grandmother and mother, participating in family life. Her black and white analog photographs are rich with everyday banality like a refrigerator plastered with magnets, photos and coloring book pictures and crowned with cereal boxes (Grandma Ruby’s Refrigerator, 2007). There are emotionally drained, yet palpable, portraits like daughter and mother anchoring opposite ends of the living room sofa (Mom and Me on Her Couch, 2010). […]

The exhibition is hardly static. There is an extensive program of art-making workshops, panel discussions and performances. True to her “manifesto,” Frazier is using the gallery space to record history; heighten public health awareness; examine the legacy of Purifoy; discuss the Flint ecological crisis, and entertain with a performance by The Sister Tour.

Gavin Brown’s enterprise, 439 W. 127th Street, New York

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Courtesy of: Forbes Art & Entertainment