Joseph Grigely

Joseph Grigely, Songs without Words, 2018. Installation view at Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Thierry Ball

Joseph Grigely, Songs Without Words (Eartha Kitt), 2009. Image courtesy the artist

Joseph Grigely, Songs without Words, 2018. Installation view at Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Thierry Ball

Joseph Grigely (b. 1956, East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, USA) lives and works in Chicago, USA. Grigely is an artist and critical theorist who works across different media including sculpture, text, video and installation. He is a Professor of Visual & Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Joseph Grigely’s series Songs without Words is based on newspaper images of singers and musicians. On display at Victoria Gallery & Museum, the works explore the representation and communication of sound. Taken from the New York Times, the series features images of celebrities from the music world such as the opera singer Andrea Bocelli or the American singer and actor Eartha Kitt. By removing the captions accompanying the images, Grigely points to the significance of contextual information. Without the captions, the singers’ poses concentrate our attention on their ambiguity, as if we are watching the world with the sound turned off.

He has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2001); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (1998, 2009); Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, France (2000); MCA, Chicago, USA (2008); as well as the 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003); 2nd Berlin Biennial, Germany (2001); Whitney Biennial, New York, USA (2000, 2014); 11th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (1998); and 5th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (1997). His books include Oceans of Love: The Uncontainable Gregory Battcock (2016); Exhibition Prosthetics (2010); Blueberry Surprise (2006); Conversation Pieces (1998); and Textualterity: Art, Theory, and Textual Criticism (1995); as well as essays on disability theory and body criticism.

Courtesy Air de Paris, Paris.

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