Joanne Petit-Frère addresses the human body as a site of beauty and adornment. Drawing on various African Diaspora traditions, the photographs of Cindy Sherman, Haitian history and a range of other sources, Petit-Frère makes films, drawings and labor-intensive tapestries and sculptures that involve weaving by hand as many as eight or more colors of synthetic hair. Many of Petit-Frère’s wall-works and sculpture are activated by performance. Joanne Petit- Frère enlists performance as a means by which to think about the body. At a moment in which human touch and presence in society is increasingly charged, Petit- Frère’s artwork reveals human beauty and form, the power of identity, and the shifting currents of social dialogue. “We’re in the midst of a major movement now with consciousness of hair types, as well as art and imagery, being pushed to fantastical reaches in the digital era,” Petit-Frère comments. Petit-Frère offers profound routes to broaden our understanding, allowing us to consider the art object as an active tool in for exploring who we are and what we can be.
Joanne Petit-Frère (b. 1987, New York, NY) received a BA from the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, NY). Her work is currently featured in "From the Limitations of Now" at Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK). In 2020, Petit-Frère’s work was the subject of two solo exhibitions: “Black Braid Brocade,” at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), and BRAID.CORA QUARANTINA 2020 (POST.JUNETEENTH), commissioned by the California African-American Museum (Los Angeles, CA) and Los Angeles Nomadic Division (Los Angeles, CA). Petit-Frère’s work will be featured in an upcoming solo project on Gondola. Recent group and museum shows include, “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes,” at the Museum of Pop Culture (Seattle, WA); and “This Synthetic Moment (Replicant),” curated by David Hartt at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA). Petit-Frère’s work has been included in performances and exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (New York, NY); Haitian Cultural Exchange (New York, NY); New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans, LA); and The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA). Petit-Frère has created custom hair sculptures for Beyoncé, Solange Knowles, Les Nubians, and Janelle Monáe, among others. Petit-Frère’s work has been featured in publications such as Artforum, Vogue, Vogue Italia, Vogue Japan, The New Yorker, The Evening Standard, AnOther Magazine, and Cultured Magazine. Her work is in the collection of such public institutions as the Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK). Petit-Frère lives and works in New York, NY.