Renee Cox is a photographer, artist, lecturer, and political activist who lives in New York. Born in Jamaica, she is recognized as one of the most important African American artists working today to celebrate Black womanhood. The Boca Raton Museum of Art has graciously shared images of Cox’s work The Signing with Girls That Create.
This witty and dramatic large-scale piece reimagines Howard Chandler Christy’s historical painting Scene at The Signing of the Constitution of the United States. Cox’s contemporary (and glamorous) twist on Christy’s painting shows modern-day women and men of color in the place of the Founding Fathers.
Cox’s subjects are all decked out ─ some in current fashions, others in 1700s period clothing, and some wear dazzling African garb. In describing her photography, 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.”
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. Cox continues to push the envelope with her work by using new technologies in the digital medium of photography.
About the Boca Raton Museum of Art
Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2020, the Boca Raton Museum of Art encompasses a creative campus that includes the Museum in Mizner Park, and the Art School. As the “Official Art Museum of the City of Boca Raton,” the Museum has provided seven decades of cultural and artistic service to the community, and to many visitors from around the world.
Images provided by the Boca Raton Museum of Art and News Travels Fast