Renee Cox: Revisiting the Queen Nanny Series

Renée Cox, River Queen, (from the Queen Nanny of the Maroons series),
Digital inkjet print on watercolor paper, 42 x 42, (2004).
Renee Cox: Revisiting the Queen Nanny Series
Curated by Rich Blint
Jan 22–June 30, 2016
Russ Berrie Pavilion
1150 St. Nicholas Avenue (@168th Street)                                                                                                    
Opening Reception: Fri, Jan 22, 2016, 6–8 pm         
Regular Viewing Hours:
Mon – Fri, 9 am–6 pm
Renee Cox: Revisiting the Queen Nanny Series offers selections of photographs from this striking series produced by Renée Cox in 2004 as an opportunity to reconsider the artist’s remarkable visual representation of one of the most important and seemingly unlikely figures in the late-17th and early-18th Century Americas. The spiritual and military leader of the Maroon outpost, Nanny Town—a once flourishing fugitive community who refused bondage could trade and farm outside of the brutal confines of plantation life—Nanny is remembered in both the popular imagination and in scholarly circles as a committed freedom fighter and keen military strategist. She led numerous raids on plantations to free upwards of one thousand enslaved Africans, as well as to burn crops and destroy the equipment that fueled the massively profitable and deeply exploitative enterprise that was New World slavery. Given the Maroons’ strategic location, Nanny and her brothers were able to thwart, for nearly two decades, repeated attempts to destroy the town until a not wholly embraced treaty was signed with the British.

The images presented in this series reveal Cox’s obsession with self-fashioning and the significance and power of the female gaze in the context of the post-colonial and the still-prevailing Enlightenment notions of what constitutes Western womanhood. At once self-possessed, forceful, and illusive, these photographs interrupt the authority of the camera and challenges the viewer to consider practices of seeing and consumption as Cox restages the community and life of this singular figure now heralded as a national hero.

Renee Cox was born in 1960 in Colgate, Jamaica. She lives and works in New York. She has received an award from the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as an Aaron Matalon award at the National Gallery of Jamaica. She was also chosen to participate at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Studies Program (1992–1993) and had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art (1993), Whitney Museum of American Art (1993), the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1995), Alrdich Museum (1996), New Museum (1999), Venice Biennial, Smithsonian Accostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture (2000), Brooklyn Museum (2001) and Studio Harlem Museum (2005 and 2012).
This event was presented as part of the Spring 2016 season of Public Programs. Learn more about our upcoming Public Programs: view our online calendar and sign up for our mailing list.
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