Exhibitions - 9999

Cameron A. Granger
9999

05.19.24 – 01.19.25

A behind the back view of 5 black people gathered around a black hole floating in the air in front of them.

Cameron A. Granger, "Here & there along the echo", (Film Still) 2024, Film, Courtesy the artist.

In 9999, Cameron A. Granger uses the framework of video games and magic to imagine an alternative method of liberation for Black communities from the compounding effects of racist urban planning. In early role playing video games, due to low computer processing capacity, 9,999 was the numerical damage limit done to a character that could be registered on screen. Yet sometimes, additional damage continued to accrue off-screen – incapacitating, yet unseen. Granger takes this concept of the concealed yet relentless harm, and applies it to the cumulative corrosion of segregative design, environmental racism, and gentrification.

 

To make sense of the convoluted legacies of systemic injustice, Granger visualizes the wounds left by structural violence through “black holes” that rip the city’s fabric. His films, prints, and sculptures create a video game-like narrative that provides puzzles, tips, and charms that aid in deciphering these black holes. In diagnosing the root cause of the issue, Granger proposes that the black holes are the result of a spell cast by nefarious, hidden forces. To break the curse, he speculates what might be possible if the black holes could be used as portals to share knowledge.

 

Seeking answers, Granger turns to stage magicians, root workers, and conjurers. His work references Black magicians such as Henry “Box” Brown (1815-1897) whose performances alluded to his 1849 self-emancipation via mail, and Benjamin Rucker aka Black Herman (1892-1934) whose magic acts and conjuring remedies built a massive following in the 1920s among Black communities. Granger also draws on the practice of conjuring, invoking remedies for locating harm’s source, protecting, and healing. Additionally, he calls upon the Haitian folklore of zombies, originally mythologized as the spirits of enslaved laborers trapped to haunt plantations in their afterlife. Granger reconceptualizes their spirits as a unified force reemerging from the grave to aid in liberation.  

 

Sourcing wisdom from Black forebears whose knowledge helped their communities self-emancipate, heal, and thrive, Granger offers a collective vision of empowered futurity. In a dimly lit gallery that mimics the digital landscape of a video game, Granger creates a narrative where memories of and knowledge from Black ancestors provide clues, methods, and tools that once pieced together, may reveal the key to break free.

 

Cameron A. Granger: 9999 is curated by Sarah Cho, Assistant Curator.

 

Cameron A. Granger (b. Cleveland, OH, 1993) is an In Situ Artist Fellow at the Queens Museum. He attended Euclid, OH public schools and Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. Granger has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions at No Place Gallery, Columbus, OH (2022); Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, NY (2019), and Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA (2018), among others. He has shown in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2022), Jack Shainman The School, Kinderhook, NY (2022), and The Bemis Center for the Arts, Omaha, NE (2021), among others. Granger was an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY (2022). His film, Before I Let Go, was awarded Best Experimental Film and the Audience Award at the 2023 BlackStar Film Festival. Granger’s work can be found in the collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH. He is a member of MINT Collective & ACRE Residency. Granger lives and works between Columbus, OH and Queens, NY. 

Supporters

Cameron Granger: 9999 is made possible in part by lead support from the Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Queens Museum Exhibitions Circle.

 

The Queens Museum is housed in the New York City Building, which is owned by the City of New York.

 

The Museum is supported, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Mayor Eric Adams, the Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and the New York City Council under the leadership of Speaker Adrienne E. Adams.

 

Major funding is generously provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, Hearst Foundations, Jerome Foundation, Lambent Foundation, MacMillan Family Foundation, Mellon Foundation, E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, New York Community Trust, Richmond County Savings Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.