Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Ellen Gallagher (American, b. 1965)

Pomp–Bang, 2003

Plasticine, ink, paper mounted on canvas

96 x 192 in. (244 x 488 cm)

Collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Joseph and Jory Shapiro Fund by exchange and restricted gift of Sara Szold; 2004.19

Pomp-Bang, the largest of the works from Gallagher’s Preserve series, is a grid of images taken from wig and beauty product advertisements from the 1960s in Ebony magazine, over which the artist has applied playful and fantastic sculptural reinterpretations of various hairstyles that make the images almost abstract. Gallagher uses African American hairstyles because of their importance in representing and constructing cultural identities. Her title is taken from the names of different wig styles: “Medalo all-over pompadour glamour” and “Medalo all-over page boy glamour with part or with bangs.” Gallagher has commented, “There is this desire from some that black artists should tell the truth, be authentic, but there is actually a lack of authenticity that is crucial to my work.”