Kris Graves: Privileged Mediocrity

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Privileged Mediocrity by Kris Graves (2023), signed

Privileged Mediocrity by Kris Graves examines systemic unfairness in the United States. Using a mix of conceptual and documentary practices, Graves photographs the subtleties of societal power and its impact on the built environment of America and the construction of public and private space. Graves explores how racism, capitalism, and power have shaped our country -- and how that can be seen and experienced in everyday life.


"The myth had staying power. For decades it was almost inescapable -- told and retold in novels and history books, in classrooms and from pulpits, and in the new technology of Hollywood movies, such as Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind. For many white Americans, it was also a convenient justification of the racial status quo of Jim Crow segregation. The myth was so much a part of everyday experience that most white Americans took it for granted, no matter how relentlessly African Americans challenged it."

Presented in three sections, Privileged Mediocrity is an expansive book that includes photographs from 2013-2022 that look at the historical roots of the United States, using direct, as well as symbolic and conceptual approaches, to composition and sequencing to remind the viewer that context is impossible to avoid, in the same way that history carries forward and scaffolds the systems that comprise our modern culture and society.

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