For nearly 30 years Renee Cox has used the photographic medium to explore the contemporary female body. Often using her own image she has taken viewers on a journey through the multiplicity of womanhood as it engages history, class, race , sex and technology within an evolving American society still struggling to reconcile the African-American image beyond a painful history of discrimination and stereotypes. To this end Cox’s was featured in the documentary film “Through A Lens Darkly” by Thomas Allen Harris (2014), broadcast on PBS (2015)
Sponsored by the Black Pulp! exhibition and Yale University’s Initiative for Race, Gender and Globalization and its director Professor Hazel Carby (AfAm Studies), Renee Cox will give an All School Lecture in the School of Art on her journey as an artist, photographer and woman.
Renee is also the focus of a current Columbia University exhibition, Renee Cox: Revisiting the Queen Nanny Series (Jan 22-Apr 14, 2016) by Curator Rich Blint. The show offers selected photographs from the artist’s “Queen Nanny Series” from 2004 in which the artist personifies the 17th-18th century black woman. Blint writes:
“The images presented in this series reveal Cox’s obsession with self-fashioning and the significance and power of the female gaze in the context of the post-colonial and the still-prevailing Enlightenment notions of what constitutes Western womanhood. At once self-possessed, forceful, and illusive, these photographs interrupt the authority of the camera and challenges the viewer to consider practices of seeing and consumption as Cox restages the community and life of this singular figure now heralded as a national hero.”
Renee Cox was born in 1960 in Colgate, Jamaica. She lives and works in New York. She has received an award from the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as an Aaron Matalon award at the National Gallery of Jamaica. She was also chosen to participate at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Studies Program (1992–1993) and had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art (1993), Whitney Museum of American Art (1993), the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1995), Alrdich Museum (1996), New Museum (1999), Venice Biennial, Smithsonian Accostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture (2000), Brooklyn Museum (2001) and Studio Harlem Museum (2005 and 2012).