Grey Area (Brown version)
Fred Wilson often appropriates art objects to explore issues of race, gender, class, politics, and aesthetics. Made up of five portrait heads of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, Grey Area (Brown Version) refers to one of the most copied works of ancient civilization. The otherwise identical plaster effigies, which he purchased and painted, illustrate a value scale ranging in color from oatmeal to dark chocolate. Thus, Wilson raises, but does not answer, controversial questions about the racial identity of ancient Egyptians.
In both his provocative, groundbreaking installations in cultural institutions and in his studio work, Wilson encourages viewers to recognize how changes in context create changes in meaning. He has said of his practice, “I use beauty as a way of helping people to receive difficult or upsetting ideas. The topical issues are merely a vehicle for making one aware of one’s own perceptual shift—which is the real thrill.”
Pigment, plaster, and wood
Overall: 20 x 84 in. (50.8 x 213.4 cm)
Each bust: 18 3/4 x 9 x 13 in. (47.6 x 22.9 x 33 cm) (show scale)
Bequest of William K. Jacobs, Jr. and bequest of Richard J. Kempe, by exchange
Five painted plaster busts of Nefer Titi (a - e) sitting on five wood shelves (f - j).
This item is not on view
Fred Wilson (American, born 1954). Grey Area (Brown version), 1993. Pigment, plaster, and wood, Overall: 20 x 84 in. (50.8 x 213.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of William K. Jacobs, Jr. and bequest of Richard J. Kempe, by exchange, 2008.6a-j. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008.6a-j_profile_PS4.jpg)
overall, 2008.6a-j_profile_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
© Fred Wilson
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.