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Genevieve Gaignard: Smell the Roses

CAAM presents the first museum exhibition of the work of Los Angeles artist Genevieve Gaignard, who deftly uses installation, photographic self-portraiture, and sculpture to explore race, femininity, and class—and their various intersections. The daughter of a black father and white mother in a Massachusetts mill town, Gaignard’s youth was marked by a strong sense of invisibility. Was her family white enough to be white? Black enough to be black? In this new, immersive installation she invokes post-Katrina New Orleans shotgun houses and white picket fences to address questions of “passing,” positioning her own female body as the chief site of exploration and challenging viewers to navigate the powers and anxieties of intersectional identity.

Influenced by the soulful sounds of Billy Stewart, the kitschy aesthetic of John Waters, and the provocative artifice of drag culture, Gaignard employs lowbrow pop sensibilities to create dynamic visual narratives. From the identity performance ritualized in ‘‘selfie” culture to the gender displays of hyper-femme footwear, Gaignard blends humor, persona, and popular culture to reveal the ways in which the meeting and mixing of contrasting realities can feel like displacement.

Gaignard received her BA in Photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design (2007) and an MFA in Photography from Yale University (2014).

This exhibition is curated by CAAM’s Deputy Director, Naima J. Keith.

Image: Genevieve Gaignard, Compton Contrapposto, 2016, Chromogenic Print, 32 x 48 in, Courtesy the artist and Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles

Exhibition Programs

Thursday, November 3, 2016 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
In Conversation: Genevieve Gaignard and Uri McMillan

Presented in conjunction with Genevieve Gaignard: Smell the Roses, this program begins with an in-depth walkthrough of the exhibition followed by an artist talk and audience Q&A. Gaignard is joined by Uri McMillan, professor of African American Studies at UCLA, to discuss the artist’s practice, focusing on her deeply engaging work with character performance, self-portraiture, and sculpture that explores the intersections between blackness, whiteness, femininity, and class. Click here to RSVP or call 213.744.2024.