Bill Cosby's Daughter Artist Erika Ranee Curates New York Show Amid Controversy

Ella Kruglyanskaya

Ella Kruglyanskaya, Untitled. Photo: Courtesy Zachary Keeting and Improvised Showboat.

Source ArtNet News

Artist Erika Ranee has quietly organized a pop-up group show that takes place in a Brooklyn artist's studio, kicking off this Saturday at 6pm, and it looks like it's going to be pretty interesting. It's Ranee's first curatorial effort.

The show, “Eye Contact," features the work of Ranee along with eight other artists, both emerging and high profile. Of the latter group, there are artists Rina Banerjee, Ellen Gallagher, and Ella Kruglyanskaya. Banerjee is a veteran of the Venice Biennale, Gallagherhas had solo shows at the Whitney Museum and Tate Modern, and Kruglyanskaya's resume includes shows at New York's Gavin Brown's Enterprise and Salon 94 and London's Studio Voltaire. Also on the roster are Nina Chanel Abney, David Armacost, Lauren Gidwitz, Scott Grodesky, and Ryan Schneider.

“I started thinking about eye imagery after watching marchers carrying artist JR's banner of Eric Garner's cropped eyes," Ranee told artnet News in an email. Garner was killed in a chokehold by New York police officers in 2014 as they apprehended him for selling untaxed cigarettes. The haunting banner was highly visible in demonstrations against excessive use of force by police against black people.

In a curatorial statement, Ranee points out that the eye is a classic artistic motif, serving as both a symbol of oppression (the all-seeing eye of Big Brother) and an intrusion (she cites Internet voyeurism). Today, as she points out, the “window to the soul" is often directed at mobile devices and screens. The imagery in the show ranges from personal to political, she says.

The show goes up as controversy continues over accusations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby, who is Ranee's father. For the daughter of a man who has spent much of his life in the public eye, whether he was being celebrated or condemned, the eye's metaphorical dimensions must certainly have had particular power.

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