Arts | Quadroon: Danielle Abrams

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Danielle Abrams is a performance and video-based artist who grew up in Queens, New York, with her Jewish mother and African-American father. Abrams’ parents raised her with their “double vision” belief, one that allowed her to view the world through the lenses of her two cultural backgrounds. Abrams’ Quadroon derives from blind spots she discovered in her parents’ “double vision” notion. This work deals with her consciousness of the disparities between the black community and the “white world.”

Quadroon, a Louisiana Creole term for a person who is one-quarter black, is a performance/video work based on Abrams’ four female voices.   These voices explore the shadowy areas that lie among labeled identities. One of her personae is Dee, a precocious 15-year-old “hair girl” from Queens who, because of her skin tone, can “pass” for Greek, but can never achieve true acceptance in the Greek community. Another voice is Dew Drop Lady, a New York Jewish grandmother eager to share advice and faith in the belief that one can achieve anything, despite stereotypes that may exist. Janie Bell, Abrams’ black grandmother from Ashland, Virginia, is a third character, which keeps the connection between family and heritage alive. Last, Abrams dons the guise of Butch in the Kitchen, a 30-year-old San Francisco butch dyke who, through her own special version of “Meals on Wheels,” addresses issues of nurturance. Together the four voices provide the viewer an insider’s portrait of the artist.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Danielle Abrams work has exhibited extensively throughout New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and for international audiences.  She has performed at prestigious institutions including: Detroit Institute of the Arts, Jewish Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Queens Museum, The Kitchen, ABC No Rio, 848 Community Space, and WOW Café Theater.  Abrams work has been supported by: New York Foundation of the Arts, Franklin Furnace, Urban Artist Initiative, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and College Art Association.

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