LaToya Ruby Frazier’s artistic practice spans a range of media, including photography, video, performance, installation art and books, and centers on the nexus of social justice, cultural change, and commentary on the American experience. In various interconnected bodies of work, Frazier uses collaborative storytelling with the people who appear in her artwork to address topics of industrialism, Rust Belt revitalization, environmental justice, access to healthcare, access to clean water, workers’ rights, human rights, family, and communal history. This builds on her commitment to the legacy of 1930’s social documentary work and 1960’s and1970’s conceptual photography that address urgent social and political issues of everyday life.
In 2016, Frazier spent five months in Flint visiting with three generations of women – the poet Shea Cobb, Shea’s Daughter, Zion, and her mother Reneé Cobb – documenting their day-to-day lives as they endured one of the most devastating ecological crises in US History. Frazier’s “Flint Is Family In Three Acts” chronicles the man-made water crisis in Flint, Michigan, from the perspective of this family affected by the crisis who fought for their right to access free, clean water. Featuring written word, photographs, poems, and interviews made in collaboration with Flint’s own residents, Frazier’s body of work serves as an exposure of this political, economic, and racial injustice.
Frazier’s work is held in numerous public and private collections including Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Art Gallery of Toronto, and Centre Georges Pompidou. She is the recipient of many honors and awards including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s MacArthur Fellows Program, and from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She is currently an Associate Professor of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she currently lives and works.
Drawing inspiration from the urgency in Frazier’s work, the Stamps Gallery initiated a partnership with the Flint Institute of Arts and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University to bring this important exhibition together for the first time in Michigan. Flint is Family: Act I (2016 – 2017) will take place at the Flint Institute of Arts, Act II (2017 – 2019) at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, and Act III (2019) at Stamps Gallery, where Flint Is Family In Three Acts is on view until January 14, 2022. Frazier’s work can also be seen at the University of Michigan Museum of Art as part of the Watershed exhibition.
Join us for a Flint Is Family In Three Acts exhibition reception and book signing directly following this event at Stamps Gallery (201 South Division Street).
Presented in partnership with Stamps Gallery, the Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum, and the Flint Institute of Arts, with additional support from The University of Michigan Museum of Art.
Series presenting partners: Detroit Public Television and PBS Books. Media partner: Michigan Radio.
In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.