Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - Corporate Girl / Side B

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Image of Corporate Girl / Side B

David McGee , b. 1962

Corporate Girl / Side B

96 in. x 99 in. (243.84 cm x 251.46 cm)

Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Partial gift of John Axelrod (PA 1964) and museum purchase
Accession Number: 2000.17


Dramatic in scale and loaded with historical association, McGee’s painting Corporate Girl/Side B is a deftly painted, multi-layered image of an African American woman who is presented in elaborate garb that alludes to the 17th-century portrait of the Infanta Margarita Teresa by the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez. In McGee’s painting, the subject’s face is obscured by tribal paint and she is armed with boxing gloves. As one reviewer has noted, “The works may look like court paintings but they act like unruly political satire.” McGee pays homage to old master paintings while subverting these traditions with commentary on the challenges that contemporary African Americans confront. Inspired by a friend’s morning makeup ritual, in Corporate Girl/Side B the artist has transformed the subject into a warrior, readying herself for the corporate battlefield many women face.

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