Tony Cokes The Book of Love 1992

  • Not on view

Cokes’s videos address the ways of thinking that structure race, class, and gender—often layering texts sourced from critical theory and civil-rights speeches with hip-hop and pop music. In The Book of Love, the artist explores his personal history by interviewing his mother, who retraces her life in anecdotes and songs. For Cokes, the work is an attempt to subvert traditional understandings of “how a woman, specifically a Black woman, would speak in a television context.” As his mother reflects on love, family, and experiences, reams of scrolling text disrupt her narrative, creating an unstable and fragmentary account of who she is.

Gallery label from 2022
Standard-definition video (color, sound)
59:37 min.
Committee on Media and Performance Funds
Object number
Ⓒ 2022 Tony Cokes
Media and Performance

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