Wayne Hodge

(born 1976, Roanoke, Virginia; lives and works in New York, New York)

Wayne Hodge
Wayne Hodge
Wayne Hodge
Wayne Hodge
Wayne Hodge
Wayne Hodge

In the sculpture and photographs on view, Wayne Hodge
references the German confection Negerkuss, or “Negro’s
Kiss,” a chocolate-and-marshmallow sweet. In the original
live performance presented in Berlin, documented here,
Hodge features a replica of the bust of Cleopatra (ca. 35 BC),
housed in Germany’s national museum in Berlin. Donning
this mask of a “black savage”—a popular mask worn in some
German carnival celebrations—Hodge methodically and
systematically blackens the bust. Using oil stick paint, he
gives the bust a “Negro’s kiss” until it is completely covered
in pigment.

Hodge deliberately employs a range of troubling
imagery in his performance. In donning the mask, he makes
visible the residues of racial stereotypes still present in
contemporary society. By blackening the bust, he alludes
not only to blackface minstrelsy—the popular nineteenth century
American entertainment form—but also to the act
of tracking historical icons back to their African roots. Hodge
makes a connection between the legacy of colonialism and
contemporary material culture. Resituating loaded materials,
Hodge takes artistic license to give them new meaning.

Wayne Hodge received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University (1998) and his MFA from Rutgers University (2001). He has also participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program as well as Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Hodge has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Making Mirrors: Of Body and Gaze, Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst, Berlin (2011); The Bearden Project, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2011); 30 Seconds off an Inch, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2010); Mohrenkopf, Kunstraum BLAST, Cologne (2008); Great Performances, BAM Brooklyn Next Festival, Five Myles, Brooklyn (2007); d’Asie d’Afrique, Artist Commune, Hong Kong (2006); AIM 26, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY (2006); Frequency, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005); The Big Nothing, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2004); Ohm 2, Sound Performance, El Museo del Barrio, New York (2003); and Veni Vidi Video, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2003).