Lorraine O'Grady's 1980-81 performance, Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, has been put online for the first time. The synopsis—including backstory and poems, plus the 13 images of "Mlle Bourgeoise Noire Goes to the New Museum"—is the latest headline of "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution." Also see Lorraine's March 22 Gallery Talk on "white middle-class feminism" and the "spatial vs chronological timelines of global feminism":
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire first won her title in 1955. After 25 years of maintaining a lady-like silence, in 1980 she began invading art openings to give people a piece of her mind.
She wore a gown and cape made of 180 pairs of white gloves, 360 gloves in all. Here is a brief version of MBN’s “backstory,” taken from the signage for the Wadsworth Atheneum installation of the performance:
On the Silver Jubilee of her coronation in Cayenne, the capital of Guyane, MLLE BOURGEOISE NOIRE (Internationale), who could still fit into her coronation gown and cape of 360 white gloves, celebrated by invading the New York art world. During her anniversary tournée, she attended several openings unannounced: while all eyes were on her, she smiled, distributed four dozen white chrysanthemums and removed her cape. With the whip-that-made-plantations-move, she applied 100 lashes to her bare back, then shouted out an occasional poem. [read on...]