As Americans across the country reckon with the future of the nation, and its history, the Boca Raton Museum of Art presents the museum premiere of The Signing, by Renee Cox. In this witty and dramatic large-scale work, the artist interprets Howard Chandler Christy’s historical painting, Scene at The Signing of the Constitution of the United States. In her contemporary (and glamorous) twist, Cox’s 12-foot long photograph reimagines modern-day women and men of color in the place of the Founding Fathers. Her subjects are all decked out ─ some in current fashions, others in 1700s period clothing, and some wear dazzling African garb.
In describing her photography, Renee Cox states: “This work aims to unleash the potential of the ordinary and bring it into a new realm of possibilities. It’s about time we re-imagine our own constitutions.” This is the first time a museum has exhibited The Signing.
“The Signing was created on a grand scale and in the tradition of history painting,” said Kathleen Goncharov, the Senior Curator of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. “This is a revisionist look at one of America’s most historic events ─ the founding of the nation. The image brings to light that although people of color did not participate in the signing of the Constitution, they have most certainly played important roles and made vital contributions to the building of this country. Museum visitors are encouraged to acknowledge that people of color have been largely left out of history books.”
Renee Cox is a photographer, artist, lecturer, and political activist who lives in New York and was born in Jamaica. She is a specialist in film and digital portraiture, using light, form, digital technology, and her own signature style to capture the identities and beauty within her subjects.
The work of Renee Cox is acclaimed internationally by critics and curators. She is recognized as one of the most important African American artists working today to celebrate Black womanhood.
One of Cox’s main motivations has always been to create new, positive visual representations of African Americans. Her photos have provoked conversations at the intersections of cultural work, activism, gender, and African studies.
On special loan from the artist, The Signing will continue to remain on view at the Museum through September of 2021.
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