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Grandma Ruby and me

© LaToya Ruby Frazier. Courtesy of the artist and Michel Rein, Paris / Brussels.

Grandma Ruby and me

Artist: LaToya Ruby Frazier (Born in Braddock, Pennsylvania, 1982)
Culture: American
Date: 2005 (printed 2013)
Medium: Gelatin silver print mounted on museum board
Image: 20 × 24 inches (50.8 × 61 cm)
Mount: 24 × 28 inches (61 × 71.1 cm)
State: AP 1/2
Edition: Edition of 3 + 2 AP
Classification: Photograph
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds provided by Marjorie (P’16, P’19, P’19) and Michael Levine (B.S.’84, P’16, P’19, P’19)
Label Text:LaToya Ruby Frazier’s photographs build on a long history of social documentation in art. Frazier has witnessed and experienced the devastating impact of deindustrialization on her once flourishing hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, the site of Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill. Today home to fewer than 2,500 people, this area suffers not only from environmental neglect, but also serious economic and social problems due in part to the decline of the steel industry. Frazier has been exploring these issues while photographing her hometown since she was 16, documenting the public spaces of Braddock and the private lives of her family.

In Grandma Ruby and me, Frazier deals with ideas of age and the disillusionment that can come with adulthood. Seated on the floor in front of both a television and a lineup of Grandma Ruby’s doll collection, the women turn to face the camera. Grandma Ruby has braided Frazier’s hair so that she looks much younger than 23, and the hint of a smile on Frazier’s face stands in sharp contrast to the furrowed brow of Grandma Ruby. Frazier lived with her grandmother during her childhood, and this image (taken four years before Grandma Ruby’s death) hints at their close relationship, which is perhaps beginning to reverse itself so that the cared for now becomes the caretaker.

Object number: 2013.6.2