This piece is part of the exhibition Ghost Song featuring New York-based artist Cécile McLorin Salvant, on view from March 8 – May 1, 2022. A renowned composer and Jazz vocalist in her own right, Salvant has a parallel visual arts practice, producing works that range from large-scale textiles to hand-drawn animation and unique drawings on paper.
Salvant draws upon a quote from Audre Lorde in contemplating the work in Ghost Song, which for her represents “the pellet of yellow coloring inside the bag of margarine.” As she moves fluidly between practices of creating music and visual art, these mediums intertwine and reflect back on one another. Salvant’s characters and recurring glyphs dance through the drawings and embroidered tapestries, the work reverberating with a sonic energy.
The Mickey Mouse character seen in Alphabet is a recurring figure Salvant uses in her work. It speaks to the ways in which early cartoon characters appropriated blackface tropes found in minstrel shows, becoming minstrels themselves. In many ways, they used humor and laughter to make racist stereotypes and anxieties palatable to a mainstream audience.
Cécile McLorin Salvant Salvant is a composer, singer, and visual artist born in 1989 in Miami, FL, and currently residing in New York. Salvant won the Thelonious Monk competition in 2010, has received Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her 3 latest albums, “The Window,” “Dreams and Daggers,” and “For One To Love,” and was nominated for the award in 2014 for her album “WomanChild.” In 2020, Salvant received the MacArthur fellowship and the Doris Duke Artist Award.
Cotton thread on linen
Artwork floated in double-sided glass in a custom Natural Oak frame