Carnegie Magazine: Art’s 20/20 Lens

A unique collaboration between Carnegie Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem combines works of the past and present to give voice to shifting, contemporary realities.

by Elizabeth Hoover

Eric Crosby, Carnegie Museum of Art’s Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, sees in the painting “the desire to reach out for knowledge even when it’s shrouded in darkness.”

That work became a “guiding spirit” for Crosby and co-curator Amanda Hunt as the pair selected works for 20/20: The Studio Museum in Harlem and Carnegie Museum of Art, an exhibition that paints a metaphorical picture of America by focusing on artists across disciplines who address themes of race, national identity, socioeconomics, and social justice. It will be on view at the Museum of Art from July 22 through December 31.

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The idea of documenting social inequality and historical change is also central to the work of photographer and Braddock, Pennsylvania, native LaToya Ruby Frazier. Frazier blends autobiography and documentary in photographs grounded in the crumbling landscape of her hometown, a once-thriving steel town. Her black-and-white portraits of her mother, grandmother, and herself underscore the connection between the town’s economic collapse and the consequences of neglect for her family and the borough’s historically marginalized working-class, black community.

“Her work is consistently eye-opening and uncompromising,” Crosby says. “She maps a landscape that is simultaneously familiar and strange, documenting the very real effects of industry on the American landscape. She also brings that desire to document inside and explores the internal dynamics of her family.”

Courtesy of: Carnegie Museums