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Robert Pruitt, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Untitled Photographs, 2011. Archival pigment prints on rag paper. 72 x 88 inches (182.8 x 223.5 cm). Robert Pruitt, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Headdress with AK47, 2011. Synthetic hair, fiberglass, beads, and plastic BB gun. 30 x 24 x 18 inches (76.2 x 61 x 45.7 cm). Robert Pruitt, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Mask Costume with Headdress (Berettas), 2011. Synthetic hair, fiberglass, plastic BB guns, and cotton. 14 x 14 x 6 inches (35.6 x 35.6 x 15.2 cm).
Robert Pruitt, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Untitled Photographs, 2011. Archival pigment prints on rag paper. 72 x 88 inches (182.8 x 223.5 cm).
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Robert Pruitt, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Headdress with AK47, 2011. Synthetic hair, fiberglass, beads, and plastic BB gun. 30 x 24 x 18 inches (76.2 x 61 x 45.7 cm).
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Robert Pruitt, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Mask Costume with Headdress (Berettas), 2011. Synthetic hair, fiberglass, plastic BB guns, and cotton. 14 x 14 x 6 inches (35.6 x 35.6 x 15.2 cm).
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Robert Pruitt

Robert Pruitt’s work reflects his own cultural duality as a black man living and working in Houston. His sculptures, such as Headdress with Lugar Pistol (2011), and the series of photographs created during his residency, Untitled Photographs (2011), deftly weave the simmering violence in contemporary American culture into a collaged narrative of tradition and pageantry. Pruitt is known for his large, stark drawings: portraits on kraft paper, poetic odes to individuals simultaneously embracing and resisting the cultural codes they’ve grown up in. The influence of stereotype can be insidious; the act of resistance is often quirky and deeply personal. Pruitt’s drawings capture this. With these new photographs and sculptures (which imply performances might be in the artist’s future), Pruitt has pushed his resistance into a fictional narrative past tense, intertwining current conceptual practice into the traditional idiom of the formal portrait, confronting an African past with an American present and creating a body of work which advances his practice significantly.

Bio
Born 1975, lives and works in Houston.
Robert Pruitt received a BFA from Texas Southern University in 2000 and an MFA from University of Texas at Austin in 2003. He also studied at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture as well as the Tougaloo Art Colony in Jackson, Mississippi. Pruitt participated in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, Day for Night, under his own name and as a member of the collective Otabenga Jones & Associates. He has exhibited at galleries in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York and has been part of exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe, MoMA PS1, and the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. He has received grants from Creative Capital (with Otabenga Jones), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Artadia, the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, and held a residency at ArtPace, San Antonio in 2007. Pruitt creates drawings and sculptures that combine hip-hop, history, and humor to expound on black identity in America. He rearranges art historical and cultural motifs in the service of disrupting accepted histories.