Elia Alba’s Fantastic Photos Pay Imaginative Homage to Contemporary Artists of Color—See Them Here

Show of the Day: “The Supper Club” at the 8th Floor, New York.

Elia Alba, The Thespian (Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz), 2014. Courtesy of the 8th Floor.
Elia Alba, The Thespian (Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz), 2014. Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

ELIA ALBA

The Supper Club
The 8th Floor, New York

What the Gallery Says: “The project began in the summer of 2012 with Elia Alba photographing a group of artists of color: David Antonio Cruz, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Las Hermanas Iglesias (Lisa and Janelle Iglesias), Lina Puerta, and Mickalene Thomas. These were followed by a series of dinner conversations that engaged fifty artists of color to ‘give voice’ to members of Alba’s artist community. There have since been 25 dinners that have explored themes like ‘Baltimore, Race, and Identity’ (in honor of Freddy Gray); the 2016 shootings in Orlando and the need for sanctuary spaces; ‘Black Female Subjectivity;’ ‘Black Male Subjectivity;’ and ‘Racial Subjugation in Latin American History.’”

Why It’s Worth a Look: In each portrait, Alba elevates her subjects to the status of movie stars, inspired by Vanity Fair‘s annual “Hollywood Issue,” which has historically underrepresented minorities. She’s carefully considered each of the artists, who include such luminaries as Hank Willis Thomas, Dread Scott, Lorraine O’Grady, and Kalup Linzy, casting them in roles that relate specifically both to their work and personality.

(In one particularly stunning image, Mickalene Thomas plays the role of Venus, rising from the sea à la Sandro Botticelli. Her skin painted a burnished gold, strategically covered with purple fabric. However, Thomas agreed to pose nude with the caveat that the image not be reproduced online—to see it, you have to visit the 8th Floor in person, or wait until the book version comes out in the fall.)

What It Looks Like:

Elia Alba, The Dreamweaver (Chitra Ganesh), 2013. Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Dreamweaver (Chitra Ganesh), 2013. Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Elia Alba, The Pulsar, (Abigail DeVille) (2014). Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Pulsar, (Abigail DeVille) (2014). Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Elia Alba, The Disco Shaman (Jeffrey Gibson) (2015). Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Disco Shaman (Jeffrey Gibson) (2015). Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Elia Alba, The Culturalist (Karina Skvirsky) (2014). Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Culturalist (Karina Skvirsky) (2014). Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Elia Alba, The Spiritualist (Maren Hassinger) (2013). Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Spiritualist (Maren Hassinger) (2013). Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Elia Alba, The Professor (Hank Willis Thomas) (2014). Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Professor (Hank Willis Thomas) (2014). Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Elia Alba, The Hero (Shaun Leonardo), 2014. Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Hero (Shaun Leonardo), 2014. Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Elia Alba, The Kaisonian (Nicole Awai),, 2014. Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Kaisonian (Nicole Awai),, 2014. Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Elia Alba, The Braddonian (LaToya Ruby Frazier), 2012). Courtesy of the 8th Floor.

Elia Alba, The Braddonian (LaToya Ruby Frazier), 2012). Courtesy of the 8th Floor and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

“Elia Alba: The Supper Club” is on view through January 13, 2018. Writer, vocalist, and sound artist LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs will perform at the closing reception, 6 p.m.–8 p.m.

The 8th Floor is located at 17 West 17th Street, New York. 


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