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Bouffant Pride

Bouffant Pride


Ellen Gallagher

(American, b. 1965)

Collage of photogravures, plasticine, paint, ink, and found objects

Support: Rag paper

Sheet: 34.3 x 26.6 cm (13 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.)

Judith and James Saks in memory of Lynn and Dr. Joseph Tomarkin Endowment 2003.340

Edition: 20


Gallagher's work investigates issues of racial identity and its social consequences. The daughter of a white Irish mother and a black African father, she addresses the history of African American stereotypes with irony and wit.
For Bouffant Pride Gallagher appropriated an advertisement for glamorous wigs from a 1960s issue of Ebony, a magazine geared toward African Americans. Using plasticine, toy eyeballs, paint, and ink, she transformed into monstrous aberrations the images that once promised to beautify the average African American. Exaggerating and deriding the racial stereotypes of the past-bulbous lips, protruding eyes, and wild hair-Bouffant Pride is humorous but also a terribly poignant comment on the stigma still associated with being black in America.

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