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Catalog Data

Created by:
Rashaun Rucker, American, born 1978  Search this
graphite and paint on paper
H x W x D (Each frame): 32 1/8 × 26 × 2 3/8 in. (81.6 × 66 × 6 cm)
multimedia works
Place made:
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States, North and Central America
Rashaun Rucker is best known for his work dealing with Black male identity and social conditioning. In his Psychological Redlining series, he merges portraits of African American men with images of rock pigeons. Rock pigeons are generally viewed as urban, unclean nuisances. Rucker asserts that people perceive Black men much the same way—essentially pigeonholing them psychologically into a space where they don’t belong. The red cages framing each portrait relates to redlining, a systemic real estate policy demarcating communities of color by red lines on a map to limit access to home loans, insurance, and even grocery stores. Rucker says he created these images to “communicate why we as Black men often don’t fly, even though we have the ability to go far and beyond our circumstance.”
This is a mixed media portrait of a man with a pigeon emerging from the top of his head, framed within a red frame in the shape of a birdcage. The graphite portrait shows the man from the neck up. His head is in a quarter-turn profile to the left. He has a slight beard along his jawline and a mustache along his upper lip. The bird emerging from the crown of his head is shown from the chest up. It is in profile to the viewer, facing the left. The man’s gaze is cast slightly downwards. The portrait is enclosed in a frame of red paint creating a birdcage with a rounded top. The two sides consist of thin red lines while the bottom is a wide red line. The top of the “cage” is a dome created by numerous narrow red lines that come together at the center top. At the top is a flattened round finial with a red knob at the top. The artist's signature "Ruck" appears along the man's neck.
African American  Search this
Art  Search this
Identity  Search this
Men  Search this
Mental health  Search this
Race discrimination  Search this
Stereotypes  Search this
Urban life  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Partial gift of Arthur Primas and Jumaane E. N’Namdi and museum purchase.
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Rashaun Rucker
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Psychological Redlining (13 Studies)
Visual Arts
Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience.
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Culture/Fourth Floor, 4 052
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture