Portfolio: The Cultural Construction of Identity

Lorraine O’Grady


Cutting Out CONYT 23, 1977/2017

The artist and cultural critic Lorraine O’Grady has spent nearly fifty years tackling the knotty interrelations between text and image, a career that includes conceptual and performance art and essays such as “Olympia’s Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity,” a foundational text in the feminist art history canon. 

Her 1977 work, Cutting Out the New York Times, consists of twenty-six poems made from cut up Sunday editions of the newspaper. Forty years later, she has reimagined and reshaped the original works into twenty-six “haiku diptychs” in Cutting Out COTNYT. She writes, “Produced with 40 more years of life and aesthetic experience, I feel that it embraces the mysterious intertwinings of narrative and politics, post-blackness and blackness in a way that Cutting Out The New York Times could not accomplish or even imagine.” 

—Eugenia Bell

Cutting Out CONYT 03, 1977/2017

Cutting Out CONYT 15, 1977/2017

Cutting Out CONYT 20, 1977/2017 


This portfolio appears in the Winter 2020 print issue of The Yale Review. Purchase a downloadable version of the issue at the low rate of just $5, and get writing by and conversations with Anne Boyer, Julia Cho, Samuel R. Delany, Aleshea Harris, Bhanu Kapil, Yiyun Li, Jonah Mixon-Webster, Namwali Serpell, and Maria Tumarkin.

Images: Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York, © Lorraine O’Grady/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.