Less Than, Greater Than

Ellen Gallagher (b. 1965) Less Than, Greater Than, 1994 Oil pencil and paper on canvas 76 × 65 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Lise and Michael Evans 2014.13

Less Than, Greater Than presents a minimalist grid composed of glued pieces of lined yellow school paper. As is often the case in Ellen Gallagher’s multimedia practice, the seemingly abstract work carefully reveals cultural meaning through the specificity of the material. Her title, a mathematical phrase and synonym for the word unequal, alludes to broader systems of economic and racial inequity that seep into all parts of society—including education and the arts.