LaToya Ruby Frazier G’07 Receives Guggenheim Fellowship
LaToya Ruby Frazier G’07 has been named a 2014 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in photography in the United States and Canada competition. Frazier earned a master of fine arts degree in art photography from the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Department of Transmedia.
Frazier has been described as “an artist on a mission with a prophetic voice” who has a “preternaturally mature body of work,” by the Village Voice and New York Times. A native of Braddock, Pa., Frazier uses photography, performance and video to explore traditional narratives of urban growth and the triumph of industry. Her work has exposed the underbelly of corporate practices, including rapid deindustrialization and outsourcing, environmental negligence and inner-city gentrification, while examining the crises of postindustrial communities and class divisions wrought by capital.
All of Frazier’s photographs are created in Braddock, a historic steel mill town of America’s Industrial period and home to Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill, The Edgar Thomson Works, established in 1872. “Grandma Ruby, Mom and myself grew up in significantly different social and economic climates in Braddock,” Frazier says on her website, http://www.latoyarubyfrazier.com. “Grandma Ruby witnessed Braddock’s prosperous days of department stores, theaters and restaurants. Mom witnessed the steel mills close, white flight and disinvestment. I witnessed the War on Drugs decimate my family and community. Between our three generations we not only witnessed but experienced and internalized the end of industrialization and rise of gentrification.”
Frazier’s work is informed by late 19th- and early 20th-century modes of representation in documentary practice. Through a collaborative effort with her family and community residents, Frazier’s works emphasize the importance of cultural memory and shed light on invisible realities.
Her 2013 solo exhibitions included “Born By a River” at the Seattle Art Museum, where she received the 2013 Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Prize; “Witness” at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, which traveled to the Institute for Contemporary Art/ Boston; and “A Haunted Capital” at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She has also participated in a number of group exhibitions, among them the 2013 Istanbul Biennial; the 2012 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and in 2011 at the Incheon Korea Biennale.
Frazier is the 2014 Guna S. Mundheim Visual Arts Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, where she will complete her first book, “The Notion of Family,” which will be published by Aperture Foundation in 2014. This book will tell the story of economic globalization and the decline of manufacturing through the bodies of three generations of African American women.
Frazier has been the associate curator for the Mason Gross Galleries at Rutgers University since 2007 and has taught photography in the Mason Gross School of the Arts. In 2012, she was appointed critic in photography at Yale University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in applied media arts from Edinboro University in 2004.
In 2014 the Guggenheim Foundation awarded 177 fellowships (including one joint fellowship) to a diverse group of 178 scholars, artists and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of approximately 3,000 applicants.