Collection Artwork
2019 7 pr w02
2019 7 pr w01
2019 7 pr w02
2019 7 pr w01
Deana Lawson (born Rochester, New York, 1979)
Joanette, Canarsie, Brooklyn
inkjet print on Sintra
paper size: 42 1/2 x 34 7/8 in.
frame size: 43 1/2 x 35 1/4 x 1 1/2 in.
image size: 42 1/2 x 34 7/8 in.
Purchased with generous funding from Nancy Herman Frehling '65 and Leslie Cypen Diamond '96
United States, North America
2/3, 2 APs

Object Label

Deana Lawson’s photography explores how black Americans from a variety of backgrounds and identities construct a culture that includes all permutations of black experiences. Like many of George Hurrell’s glamour portraits, Lawson uses a plain studio backdrop, dramatic lighting, and cropping so that the focus is entirely on her subject.

While Lawson’s photograph echoes the compositional aesthetics of glamour portraits, the beauty of Joanette, the sitter, stands apart from Hollywood’s cookie-cutter glamour. Joanette is adorned with ashy silver jewelry, voluminous hair extensions, feathery eyelashes, and elongated nails. Contemporary glamour, as defined in this portrait, embraces all aesthetics, even those that deviate from the norm. This modern inclusivity allows Joanette to pose for Lawson’s camera with as much confidence as Jean Harlow did under Hurrell’s direction.

From the exhibition: New Ms. Thang (May 4 – May 18, 2019)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Learn more

Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond
New Ms. Thang
Pattern by Evelyn Wang ’19
Inspired by the exhibition 3-D Doings: The Imagist Object in Chicago Art, 1964-1980
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.