LaToya Ruby Frazier uses photographs to narrate her life. She turns to those closest to her—herself, her mother, her grandmother—to tell a larger story of Rust Belt America. In Frazier’s work, a person’s lived experience and the history of a place are closely intertwined.
This fall, Oberlin’s incoming class will be welcomed to the museum to view Frazier’s photograph Grandma Ruby’s Refrigerator as part of the Shared Art program. Based on the idea of a common reading program—but with an Oberlin twist—Shared Art uses an artwork from the museum collection to establish a communal space where students of all backgrounds can begin their Oberlin journey together. By engaging with the perspectives of their peers through Frazier’s photograph, students will recognize the multifaceted ways in which people make meaning.
Frazier’s photograph will be on view throughout the semester so students can return, look again, and discover how their own perspectives shift as they grow academically and personally in their first year at Oberlin. Sharing art thus becomes a way of understanding this place, one’s peers, and oneself.