Grey Area (Brown version)
Fred Wilson often appropriates art objects to explore issues of race, gender, class, politics, and aesthetics. Made up of five portrait heads of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, Grey Area (Brown Version) refers to one of the most copied works of ancient civilization. The otherwise identical plaster effigies, which he purchased and painted, illustrate a value scale ranging in color from oatmeal to dark chocolate. Thus, Wilson raises, but does not answer, controversial questions about the racial identity of ancient Egyptians.
In both his provocative, groundbreaking installations in cultural institutions and in his studio work, Wilson encourages viewers to recognize how changes in context create changes in meaning. He has said of his practice, “I use beauty as a way of helping people to receive difficult or upsetting ideas. The topical issues are merely a vehicle for making one aware of one’s own perceptual shift—which is the real thrill.”
- Artist: Fred Wilson, American, born 1954
- Medium: Paint, plaster and wood
- Dates: 1993
- Dimensions: Overall: 20 x 84 in. (50.8 x 213.4 cm) Each bust: 18 3/4 x 9 x 13 in. (47.6 x 22.9 x 33 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Contemporary Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Period Room/Installation Gallery
- Accession Number: 2008.6a-j
- Credit Line: Bequest of William K. Jacobs, Jr. and bequest of Richard J. Kempe, by exchange
- Rights Statement: © Fred Wilson
- Caption: Fred Wilson (American, born 1954). Grey Area (Brown version), 1993. Paint, plaster and wood, Overall: 20 x 84 in. (50.8 x 213.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of William K. Jacobs, Jr. and bequest of Richard J. Kempe, by exchange, 2008.6a-j. © Fred Wilson
- Catalogue Description: Five painted plaster busts of Nefer Titi (a - e) sitting on five wood shelves (f - j).
- Record Completeness: Best (82%)