BMA acquires LaToya Ruby Frazier installation celebrating Baltimore's community health workers

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BMA acquires LaToya Ruby Frazier installation celebrating Baltimore's community health workers
LaToya Ruby Frazier. More Than Conquerors: A Monument for Community Health Workers of Baltimore, Maryland 2021-2022, 2022. Installation view: LaToya Ruby Frazier, Gladstone Gallery, New York, March 2 – April 15, 2023. Commissioned by Carnegie Museum of Art for the 58th Carnegie International and funded in part by National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, 2021-22. © LaToya Ruby Frazier, Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery.

BALTIMORE, MD.- The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has announced that it has acquired LaToya Ruby Frazier’s acclaimed installation More Than Conquerors: A Monument for Community Health Workers of Baltimore, Maryland 2021-2022. Featuring a series of portraits and related narratives mounted on 18 socially distanced, stainless-steel IV poles, the large-scale installation captures and celebrates the essential work of community health workers in Baltimore during the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Powerful and deeply evocative, the installation monumentalizes the Community Health Workers’ efforts and offers an alternative approach to monument-making that challenges us to consider the nature of how and who we honor. More Than Conquerors is being generously gifted to the museum by the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Initially created for the 58th Carnegie International, where it won the Carnegie Prize, and recently presented at Gladstone Gallery in New York, the installation will go on view at the BMA in 2025 as part of a year-long initiative focused on the environment.

“More Than Conquerors reflects the distinct quality of LaToya Ruby Frazier’s artistry and her innate ability to encapsulate stories of profound personal and communal meaning. The installation offers a poignant tribute to some of the most important but underacknowledged heroes of our community, and it is with great pride and gratitude that we are able to share that it will become part of the BMA’s collection,” said Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Wagner Wallis Director. “We also want to extend our great appreciation to Glenstone co-founders Mitch and Emily Rales for their vision and support in helping us acquire this work for the benefit and enjoyment of our community.”

“As with all monuments, the meaning of More Than Conquerors is inseparable from its location. For this reason, we were inspired to gift this work to the Baltimore Museum of Art so that the community that these workers serve would also be the primary audience for this powerful installation,” said Emily Wei Rales, Director and co-founder of Glenstone Museum.

More Than Conquerors is an outgrowth of Frazier’s long-standing relationship with Dr. Lisa Cooper, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity. The two first connected during a 2015 conversation hosted by The Contemporary and the Baltimore School for the Arts that explored the power of art, science, and medicine to address environmental racism and remained in personal dialogue following the event. During the pandemic, Frazier was awarded both the National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship (2020-2021) and a commission for the 58th Carnegie International. When she experienced an incident of medical injustice while trying to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination, she was inspired to develop a project that both revealed the depth of healthcare inequity and celebrated those individuals on the frontlines working for change.

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