Ken Gonzales-Day is a Los Angeles based artist whose interdisciplinary practice considers the historical construction of race and the limits of representational systems ranging from lynching photographs to museum displays. His widely-cited Erased Lynching series (2006), along with the publication of Lynching in the West: 1850-1935 (2006), has slowly transformed the understanding of racialized violence in the United States and specifically raised awareness of the history of lynching, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, and African-Americans in California.
The Searching for California Hang Trees series took a slightly different approach by offering a critical look at the legacies of landscape photography. In downtown Los Angeles, Gonzales-Day created the Walking Tour of Los Angeles Lynching Sites to help introduce visitors to the city’s hidden past and the short film, RUN UP, makes this little-known history accessible to an ever wider audience, though screenings and talks, both nationally and internationally.
Works from the Profiled Series have been exhibited internationally, and grew out of Gonzales-Day’s own research into the history of racial depiction and historic educational displays. This project has brought new attention to the material legacies of slavery, colonialism, imperialism, gender normativity, and whiteness, by photographing the marble and plaster stand-ins of human difference. Gonzales-Day is Professor of Art at Scripps College.