The safety of our visitors, staff, and volunteers is our top priority. Crystal Bridges will temporarily close through April 17 to support efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Follow our status updates >

Happy Birthday, Barbie!
March 8, 2019
Artist In Residence
The Momentary Announces Artist-in-Residence Program and 2019 Spring Artists
March 14, 2019
Show all

#ArtistatCB: Genevieve Gaignard on “Black is Beautiful”

At Crystal Bridges, we’re committed to exploring the unfolding story of America. Through the 2014 State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition, the museum introduced 102 artists who live and work in communities all over the US. We’re continuing that effort in 2019 through new installations and exhibitions.

#ArtistatCB provides a window into the lives and studios of artists, who help us connect to the issues of our time in thought-provoking and inspiring ways.

Genevieve Gaignard

“I photograph myself to talk about how we navigate through the world and how others see us.”

Genevieve Gaignard is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work focuses on photographic self-portraiture, sculpture, and installation to explore race, femininity, class, and their various intersections. The daughter of a black father and white mother, Gaignard’s youth was marked by a strong sense of invisibility. Was her family white enough to be white? Black enough to be black? Gaignard interrogates notions of “passing” in an effort to address these questions.

Genevieve Gaignard, Black is Beautiful (2016), installation. © Courtesy of the artist.

With Black is Beautiful, Gaignard incorporates themes of family, nostalgia, memory, and race to create an imagined space. The textured bedroom is created in homage to her late niece who passed away in a house fire. Her technique is maximalist—using a variety of decorative objects to fill the space. A cluster of Cabbage Patch dolls that signify youthfulness and childhood are juxtaposed by a poster with the phrase “Black is Beautiful” showcasing a woman celebrating her empowerment. Together, these objects create a psychological space to reflect on the moments between adolescence and adulthood with the realities and wisdom of life experience.

Genevieve Gaignard, Black is Beautiful (2016), installation. © Courtesy of the artist.

Black is Beautiful is on view now in Personal Space. The focus exhibition takes a look at various depictions of space within Modern and Contemporary art, including sculpture, photography, and installation, asking viewers to consider what emotions are evoked by the places, people, objects, and symbols depicted within the artworks. Discover objects, both real and imagined, that help us define how we construct our personal space in the world. The focus exhibition is free to view, and is open through the end of March.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *