Exhibitions: LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital

LaToya Ruby Frazier: Grandma Ruby and Me

LaToya Ruby Frazier (American, born 1982). Grandma Ruby and Me, 2005. Gelatin silver photograph, 15½ x 18½ in. (39.4 x 47 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, 2011.63.1. © LaToya Ruby Frazier

March 22–August 11, 2013

LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital uses social documentary and portraiture to create a personal visual history of an industrial town’s decline. Through approximately 40 photographic works of her family and their hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, Frazier offers an intimate exploration of the effects of deindustrialization on the lives of individuals and communities. Home to one of America’s first steel mills, Braddock now has a population below 2,500 and has been declared a “distressed municipality.”

Frazier began to explore Braddock’s history in her series Notion of Family, four examples of which are on view in this exhibition. That project uses the bodies of the artist, her mother, and her grandmother both to reveal complex intergenerational relationships and to serve as a metaphor for their town’s decay. Frazier’s portrayal of this American landscape is in stark contrast to images from a recent corporate ad campaign set in Braddock, which she felt not only erased the troubled realities of her endangered town but also excluded the community to which her family belongs.

Frazier, whose work is featured in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, is Associate Curator for the Mason Gross galleries and teaches photography at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital was organized by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum.

Generous support for this exhibition was provided by the Lambent Foundation and the FUNd.



Frazier reveals the story behind a series of videos and photographs of her family in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Video courtesy of Art21, from their “New York Close Up” series


Frazier discusses the economic and environmental decline of her hometown, Braddock, Pennsylvania—the city that clothing company Levi's used as the inspiration and backdrop for a major 2010 advertising campaign. Video courtesy of Art21, from their “New York Close Up” series


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