Ways of Seeing
ICA Museum Analysis
Exhibition: Witness: Layota Ruby Frazier The exhibition, Witness: Layota Ruby Frazier, shown in ICA of Layota’s art work is definitely a visual and emotional attack to the audience. I visit the Institute of Contemporary Art after a school day. And luckily it was Teen-night, which means that there will be many teenagers visiting the ICA. And this event actually related to the exhibition that I am going to dig deeply into in the following contents. Fraziers’s art work can be categorized as avant-garde but related to reality. In her art collection Witness, she shows various facades of humanity and it surroundings by emphasizing the importance of sexuality, race and etc. Frazier’s upbringing in Braddock, Pennsylvania, was imprinted by the drastic downsizing of the Pittsburgh-area town’s Edgar Thomson Steel Works in the early 80s that prompted many residents to flee. Homes and businesses were abandoned, infrastructure and amenities crumbled, the national crack epidemic took hold, and urban families found themselves subject to widespread vilification. “Every stereotype you can think of is what I grew up seeing in the media,” Frazier says. “We were demonized as bad, poor, black drug addicts.” She is the witness of the decay of a city, environment, and humanity accompanied under that certain period of time. LaToya Ruby Frazier: WITNESS features photographs, videos, digital works and a recent photolithograph series that speak to these conditions. Frazier documents Braddock's deterioration with an unflinching eye and a gift for communicating through documentary images that connects her to other socially engaged practitioners like American photographers Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Gordon Parks. LaToya Ruby Frazier’s stunning black-and-white photographs explore the psychological connections of intergenerational relationships within her family and community. Over the past nine years, Frazier has focused on images that deal directly with issues of access to health care and the social, economic, and environmental decline of the town of Braddock, the working-class Pittsburgh suburb where the artist was born and raised.
Therefore, combining her special backgrounds, Frazier develops her unique understanding of art. There are couple pieces of art pictures that impress me the most among all the printing pieces. LaToya Ruby Frazier, Momme, 2008, gelatin silver print, 20 by 24 inches. The picture shown above is a portrait of both Frazier and her mother. In the exhibition, this photo was put on the very front among the entire collection. I personally found this image impressive as the artists in the picture are not showing any facial expression, though there can deliver a sense of heavy atmosphere, by staying there silently. This exhibition of Fraizer’s art work is called Witness, and in my opinion this photo stands out for the whole theme. As what I have mentioned before, Fraizer’s work is to remember and record the process of how a city decay. She lives in the atmosphere, identified as a woman. From her female point of view, in this picture I see the despair though helpless desire of living a better life under the unemployment and unstable society. Most of Fraizer’s art starring her grandmother, her mother, and herself. At least in the Witness series, female figures dominate the whole exhibition. The second one I would love to introduce is the photo that has both Fraizer and her grandmother in the frame. According to what Fraizer says about Witness, she says, is the “story of economic globalization and the…