Reality Reframed: Recent Works by Todd Gray

Reality Reframed: Recent Works by Todd Gray

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation

Todd Gray, the hidden order of the whole, 2021. Five archival pigment prints in artist’s frames, UV laminate. Courtesy of the artist and David Lewis Gallery, NY.*

January 16, 2024
Reality Reframed: Recent Works by Todd Gray
February 22–April 13, 2024
Opening: February 22, 6–8pm, RSVP requested
The 8th Floor
17 West 17th Street
10011 New York NY
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation is pleased to present a new solo exhibition, Reality Reframed: Recent Works by Todd Gray. Opening on February 22 from 6–8pm at The 8th Floor (RSVP) and on view through April 13, 2024, the show will feature recent photo assemblages drawing on Gray’s extensive archive of photography from the last forty years. 

Throughout his photographic practice, Gray frequently defies the conventions of photography, destabilizing the primacy of the image and the traditional construction of pictorial narrative. Combining seemingly disparate or dissociated images into a single work, he leads the viewer to question or construct the story he poses. Gray’s formal and metaphorical methodology steps beyond text-driven historical storytelling through his use of oval and rectangular frames of varied scales and historical periods, depicting rich built environments. 

Gray’s work often opens with beauty and closes with the dark, inherently grisly histories of global colonial subjugation, human trafficking, and ideological manipulation that enabled the aestheticization of the Old World, which was paid for by the New. Ostentatious and meticulously manicured European gardens, such as the Versailles gardens depicted in his work, contrast the more discreet legacy of forced displacement for “othered” humans created through colonization. Western cultural and religious projection onto these populations is still being corrected, explored, and readdressed. In Gray’s own words, “it is so important to wrestle the narrative away from art history and re-channel it.”

Todd Gray (b. 1954, Los Angeles, California, lives and works in Los Angeles, California and Akwidaa, Ghana) is a photo-based artist whose work aims to destabilize assumptions about the veracity of photography and provoke reconsiderations of long-accepted norms and beliefs surrounding the medium, including the role of the viewer in constructing meaning. Gray received both his BFA and MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California in 1979 and 1989, respectively. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at Lehmann Maupin, London, UK (2023); Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan (2021); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut (2021); David Lewis, New York, New York (2021); Pomona College Museum of Art, Pomona, California (2019); Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, California (2018); Meliksetian / Briggs, Los Angeles, California (2018); Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, California (2017); Gallery Momo, Johannesburg, South Africa (2017); Lightwork, Syracuse, New York (2016); Samson Projects, Boston, Massachusetts (2015); among others. He is the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the Rome Prize Fellowship, Visual Arts, American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy (2022–23); John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Fine Arts (2018); Bellagio Creative Arts Fellowship, The Rockefeller Foundation (2016); and the Hermitage Artist Retreat Fellowship, Englewood, Florida (2015). In 2007, Gray was commissioned to create a public artwork for the Los Angeles International Airport. 

Reality Reframed is curated by Anjuli Nanda Diamond and George Bolster, with programming to be announced soon (mailing list). To learn more about Reality Reframed and Todd Gray, please read the full press release here.

*Image description: Photography and picture frames are assembled on top of and beside each other to create a fairly flat sculpture. A tall wooden rectangular frame is affixed to the left of a square wooden frame. Inside the rectangular frame is an oval-shaped photograph of a dried palm with a Black woman in profile superimposed on another oval-shaped photograph, which sits on top of a photograph looking up at an ornate castle. Inside the square frame, another oval-shaped photograph of the bark of a palm tree is layered on top of a photograph of a French garden and pond.

RSVP for Reality Reframed: Recent Works by Todd Gray
The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
January 16, 2024

Thank you for your RSVP.

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.