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Renee Cox: American Family

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2001
Published by: Robert Miller Gallery
Year published: 2001
ISBN: 0-944680-65-8

image of Renee Cox: American Family

Full colour catalogue for Renee Cox: American Family, a solo exhibition by Renee Cox shown at Robert Miller Gallery, New York. Its dates were 10 October - 10 November 2001. Cox’s work centred on her own body and her own identity, and through these elements she referenced a wide range of concerns, such as societal notions, police brutality, art history, sexuality, and many other factors.

From the catalogue essay, by Jo Anna Isaak, “American Family is an exhibition of desire, its construction and dissemination - sexual, intellectual, material, maternal desire - as well as that peculiarly American desire for self-determination and self-representation.”

Catalogue contents as follows:

American Family, essay by Jo Anna Isaak

Substantial selection of colour plates, divided into the sections, Grand Salon, Erotica, and Family

Extensive Bibliography

The images in Grand Salon relate to Cox’s reworkings of iconic paintings and icons from European art history, including Saint Sebastian, Ingres’s Grande Odalisque, Manet’s Olympia and so on. Saint Sebastian is  employed to comment on the shooting of Ahmed Diallo, 22, an unarmed Bronx street peddler from Guinea in West Africa, who, in the course of some sort of an encounter with four plainclothes police officers near his apartment was gunned down at close range, 41 bullets having been fired at him.

Erotica consists of Cox’s candid and often challenging attitudes towards her sexuality, familial ties and the power of the photograph, whether archival, family, or self-portraiture. To this end, Cox presents herself in various states of undress, in work that celebrates and critiques notions of female sexuality. These photographs are situated amongst family photographs, thereby deepening and complicating the readings of her images.

Family, the shortest section in the catalogue, consists of photographs taken by Cox, of her family members, and a collection of family photographs that present the complexities and multilayering of the intersections between race and family ties, particular when dominant societal notions of race mixing are evoked.

As Jo Anna Isaak concludes in her text, “There is a lot at stake in American Family for all of us.”

Related people

»  Renée Cox

Born, 1960 in Colgate, Jamaica

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Robert Miller Gallery

New York, New York, USA, United States of America