LYLE ASHTON HARRIS | Billie, Boxers, Better Days

Lyle Ashton Harris. Better Days #7, 2002. Courtesy of the artist.

Lyle Ashton Harris. Better Days #7, 2002. Courtesy of the artist.

2002. 8 monochromatic dye diffusion transfer prints (Polaroid), 24 x 20 in. Photographs are shown courtesy of the artist, Gregory Miller, and Peter Norton.

This series of Polaroid prints consist of performative self-portraits, ranging from portrayals of jazz singer Billie Holiday, performer Josephine Baker to layered mise-en-scènes and multiple exposures.  In these theatrical images, Harris explores the construction of race and gender through iconic subjects and objects that confront modernism’s ambivalent negrophilia.

For more than two decades Lyle Ashton Harris has cultivated a diverse artistic practice ranging across photographic media, collage, installation and performance. His work explores intersections between the personal and the political, examining the impact of ethnicity, gender and desire on contemporary social and cultural dynamics. Known for his self-portraits and use of pop culture icons (such as Billie Holiday and Michael Jackson), Harris teases the viewers’ perceptions and expectations, resignifying cultural cursors and recalibrating the familiar with the extraordinary.

Born in New York City, Harris spent his formative years in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and currently resides in New York and is an Associate Professor at New York University (Global). His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the 52nd Venice Biennale; his commissioned work has been featured in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker.  Lyle Ashton Harris is represented by CRG Gallery, New York.