Nikki S. Lee
Korean, born 1970
The Hip Hop Project (1), 2001
Chromogenic color print, edition AP2
21 1/4 x 28 inches (54 x 71.1 cm)
Edmund Hayes Fund, 2002
In her “Projects” series, Nikki S. Lee adapted the costumes and customs of various American subcultures, immersing herself in their lifestyles. She was willing to change anything—hair, weight, clothing, skin color, behavior—to fit in. She told the group she was doing an art project, then worked to become accepted—a gradual process that could take weeks or even months. At first the photographs were taken by a friend who accompanied her; later she asked anyone available because she wanted them to have “the boring quality of snapshots.” To see only one Project will not convey Lee’s ideas adequately because, as she says, seeing the others brings out the special characteristics of each one.
The Projects, which are related to performance art, address issues of both social and cultural identity. As Lee once commented, “essentially life itself is a performance. When we change our clothes to alter our appearance, the real act is the transformation of our way of expression—the outward expression of our psyche.”
Related Lesson Plan
What’s Fair? Can You Decide? (For Grades 3–12)
WORKS ON TOUR
Please note that many of our most popular works, featured in this summer’s exhibition Sincerely Yours: Treasures of the Queen City, will be on tour through fall 2015. We hope you will come and find your new favorites while these works are out serving as ambassadors for Buffalo!
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Installation information is subject to change. If you are planning to visit the museum to see a specific work of art, please call us first to confirm that it will be on view.
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