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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 (frame): 32 1/8 × 26 × 2 3/8 in. (81.6 × 66 × 6 cm)
H x W (work): 23 3/4 × 18 in. (60.3 × 45.7 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. He has a mustache and goatee. He faces front, his gaze slightly to the right of the viewer. The pigeon emerging from the crown of his head is shown from its neck upward. It sits slightly to the left side of the man’s head. The bird is depicted face forward, beak angled downward, eyes gazing directly at the viewer. The portrait is enclosed in a frame of red paint in the shape of a birdcage. The two sides consist of narrow red lines while the bottom is a thick red line. The top of the “cage” has a domed top consisting of narrow red lines that meet at the top of the dome. Mounted on the top is a small red hook. 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