2015 Infinity Award: Publication
In The Notion of Family, her first book, LaToya Ruby Frazier offers an incisive exploration of the legacy of racism and economic decline in America's small towns, as embodied by her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The work also considers the impact of that decline on the community and on her family, creating a statement both personal and truly political—an intervention in the histories and narratives of the region. Frazier has compellingly set her story of three generations—her Grandma Ruby, her mother, and herself—against larger questions of civic belonging and responsibility. The work documents her own struggles and interactions with family and the expectations of community. With The Notion of Family, Frazier enlists the participation of her family—and her mother in particular. In the creation of these collaborative works, Frazier reinforces the idea of art and image-making as a transformative act, a means of resetting traditional power dynamics and narratives, both those of her family and those of the community at large.
LaToya Ruby Frazier (born in Braddock, Pennsylvania, 1982) received her BFA in photography and graphic design in 2004 at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and her MFA in 2007 from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, New York. In 2011, Frazier completed the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program and shortly thereafter was appointed Critic in Photography at the Yale University School of Art. Currently she is an Assistant Professor in Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her notable first New York City solo exhibition, A Haunted Capital, was held at Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2013. Frazier has received numerous grants and awards, including a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2015 TED Fellowship.