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2011 Johnson Prize Winner

Deborah Grant

Born in Toronto in 1968, Deborah Grant received a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College, Chicago in 1996 and a Masters in Fine Art from the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia in 1999. She has done residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1996); the Studio Museum in Harlem (2002/2003); Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito (2004) and the A.S.A.P Residency in Mount Desert Island, Maine (2005). She has had solo exhibitions at The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum (2009); Roebling Hall, New York, (2006); Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas (2007) and Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles (2007). Grant's work has also been included in the group exhibitions Agitated Histories, Site Santa Fe (2011); Reinventing Ritual, Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life, The Jewish Museum, New York (2009); After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy, High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2008); The Old Weird America Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2008); The Way We Rhyme: Women, Arts and Politics, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2008); The "F" Word, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2006); Greater New York, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City (2005); Seeds and Roots, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2004) and AIM 22, The Bronx Museum (2002).

Grant's work appropriates and reconfigures the artwork of famous male artists such as Picasso, Basquiat, Bacon and Traylor. In a style that she calls "Random Select," Grant reworks their images while adding drawing and collage to refer to history, contemporary events and narratives pertinent to her own life experience and identity. In her series By The Skin of Our Teeth, she used Bill Traylor's images to conflate his narrative with slavery, Jim Crow and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The 2011 William H. Johnson Prize jury consisted of Laylah Ali, Artist and Professor of Art, Williams College; Jennie C. Jones, Artist; Dean Daderko, Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; and Yasmil Raymond, Curator, The Dia Foundation, New York.


2011 William H. Johnson Prize
The Flaming Fury of Bayard Rustin the Queen at the End of the Bar, 2008
Oil, paper, flashe paint and enamel on 24 birch panels
108 x 120 inches
When the Disease Penis Reveals Throttle Marks, 2008
Archival ink, paper and enamel on shaped birch panel
62 x 57 inches
(From the series, Bacon, Eggs, Toast in Lard)
In the Land of the Blind the Blue Eye Man is King, 2007
Oil, archival ink, paper, flashe paint and enamel on five birch panels
72 x 180 inches
(From the series, By The Skin of Our Teeth)