Radcliffe Bailey, Artist Who Explored Black Migration, Dies at 54

Although Mr. Bailey himself by no means migrated from his adopted dwelling, Georgia, after transferring there as a toddler, he chafed at being pigeonholed as a Southern artist, or for that matter as a Black artist. “I don’t wish to be the ‘different,’” he stated in a 2013 interview with the journal Bomb.

“I see myself as making work that’s common in some ways,” he added. “Before everything folks say, ‘You’re this, you’re that,’ however I’m human. These names and classes change throughout time, and I wish to make work that’s timeless.”

Radcliffe Orville Bailey Jr. was born on Nov. 25, 1968, in Bridgeton, N.J., the elder of two sons of a railroad engineer father and a schoolteacher mom, Brenda (Coles) Bailey.

His father’s aspect of the household had initially settled in New Jersey whereas fleeing oppression within the South after the Civil Struggle. That household migration saga, Mr. Bailey stated in a 2020 video interview, would later inform his work.

Along with his brother, Mr. Bailey is survived by his spouse, Leslie Parks Bailey; a daughter, Olivia Bailey; and a son, Radcliffe Coles Bailey, referred to as Coles.

When Mr. Bailey was 4 years previous, his household was on their solution to Florida on a street journey once they stopped at Paschal’s, an Atlanta soul meals restaurant that was widespread with civil rights leaders. There, they met the Rev. Lucius M. Tobin, a professor of faith at Morehouse School. Mr. Tobin’s household led the Baileys on a historic tour of the town, and the Baileys, who had been already contemplating a transfer to both the South or the West, settled in Atlanta quickly after.

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