Excess Flesh: Black Women Performing Hypervisibility

in Troubling Vision

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226253022
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226253053 | DOI:
Excess Flesh: Black Women Performing Hypervisibility

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This chapter explores how hypervisibility is a performative strategy for black female cultural producers. It describes visual and performance works by Renee Cox, Tracey Rose, Ayanah Moor and popular cultural performances by Janet Jackson and Lil' Kim. The controversy and media attention surrounding Cox's Yo Mama's Last Supper presented a cultural cachet and visibility that increased the artist's marketability and desirability in the New York art scene. Rose took on optics and the power of looking in her art. Controversy was aroused in Jackson's bodily performance. Moor produced a photographic series entitled Still. Lil' Kim served as both an example of hip-hop's degradation of women and of hip-hop female empowerment. It is noted that in the early twenty-first century, black women continue to be marked by blackness rooted in a legacy of a racial past and their bodies continue to bear these psychic and corporeal scars in dominant visual culture.

Keywords: hypervisibility; Renee Cox; Tracey Rose; Ayanah Moor; Janet Jackson; Lil' Kim; black women

Chapter.  15235 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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