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Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, Rapture, 2011 Oil on canvas, 96 × 70 inches (243.8 × 177.8 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Titus Kaphar, Rapture, 2011

Oil on canvas, 96 × 70 inches (243.8 × 177.8 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Titus Kaphar, Behind the Myth of Benevolence, 2014 Oil on canvas, 59 × 34 × 7 inches (149.9 × 86.4 × 17.8 cm)© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, Behind the Myth of Benevolence, 2014

Oil on canvas, 59 × 34 × 7 inches (149.9 × 86.4 × 17.8 cm)
© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, The Jerome Project (Asphalt and Chalk) V, 2014 Graphite on asphalt paper, 49 × 35 ½ inches (124.5 × 90.2 cm), Museum of Modern Art, New York© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Jeremy Lawson

Titus Kaphar, The Jerome Project (Asphalt and Chalk) V, 2014

Graphite on asphalt paper, 49 × 35 ½ inches (124.5 × 90.2 cm), Museum of Modern Art, New York
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Jeremy Lawson

Titus Kaphar, Jerome I–V, 2014 Oil, gold leaf, and tar on wood panel, in 5 parts, each: 10 × 7 inches (25.4 × 17.8 cm), Studio Museum in Harlem, New York© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, Jerome I–V, 2014

Oil, gold leaf, and tar on wood panel, in 5 parts, each: 10 × 7 inches (25.4 × 17.8 cm), Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, Shadows of Liberty, 2016 Oil on canvas with rusty nails, 108 × 84 inches (274.3 × 213.4 cm), Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, Shadows of Liberty, 2016

Oil on canvas with rusty nails, 108 × 84 inches (274.3 × 213.4 cm), Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, Enough about You, 2016 Oil on canvas with antique frame, 45 × 70 × 5 ½ inches (114.3 × 178 × 14 cm)© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, Enough about You, 2016

Oil on canvas with antique frame, 45 × 70 × 5 ½ inches (114.3 × 178 × 14 cm)
© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, Menina, 2017 Oil on canvas, 76 × 54 inches (193 × 137.2 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Jeremy Lawson

Titus Kaphar, Menina, 2017

Oil on canvas, 76 × 54 inches (193 × 137.2 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Jeremy Lawson

Titus Kaphar, Shifting the Gaze, 2017 Oil on canvas, 84 × 108 inches (213.4 × 274.3 cm), Brooklyn Museum, New York© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardener

Titus Kaphar, Shifting the Gaze, 2017

Oil on canvas, 84 × 108 inches (213.4 × 274.3 cm), Brooklyn Museum, New York
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardener

Titus Kaphar, Seeing through Time, 2018 Oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches (152.4 × 121.9 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardener

Titus Kaphar, Seeing through Time, 2018

Oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches (152.4 × 121.9 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardener

Titus Kaphar, Language of the Forgotten, 2018 Charred white oak, high-density urethane, glass, and LED lights, 84 × 66 × 48 inches (213.4 × 167.6 × 121.9 cm), edition of 3 + 1 AP© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardner

Titus Kaphar, Language of the Forgotten, 2018

Charred white oak, high-density urethane, glass, and LED lights, 84 × 66 × 48 inches (213.4 × 167.6 × 121.9 cm), edition of 3 + 1 AP
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardner

Titus Kaphar, State Number Two (Dwayne Betts), 2019 Tar and oil on canvas, 59 ½ × 75 ¾ inches (151.1 × 192.4 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Kris Graves

Titus Kaphar, State Number Two (Dwayne Betts), 2019

Tar and oil on canvas, 59 ½ × 75 ¾ inches (151.1 × 192.4 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Kris Graves

Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Untitled, 2019, from the Redaction project Etching and silkscreen on paper, 22 × 30 inches (55.9 × 76.2 cm)© Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Kris Graves

Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Untitled, 2019, from the Redaction project

Etching and silkscreen on paper, 22 × 30 inches (55.9 × 76.2 cm)
© Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Kris Graves

Titus Kaphar, From a Tropical Space, 2019 Oil on canvas, 92 × 72 inches (233.7 × 182.9 cm), Museum of Modern Art, New York© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Titus Kaphar, From a Tropical Space, 2019

Oil on canvas, 92 × 72 inches (233.7 × 182.9 cm), Museum of Modern Art, New York
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Titus Kaphar, Nothing to See Here, 2021 Oil on canvas and wood panel, latex print on vinyl, and rope, 78 ¾ × 66 × 7 ⅞ inches (200 × 167.5 × 20 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Titus Kaphar, Nothing to See Here, 2021

Oil on canvas and wood panel, latex print on vinyl, and rope, 78 ¾ × 66 × 7 ⅞ inches (200 × 167.5 × 20 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Titus Kaphar, From Whence I Came, 2022 Oil on canvas with duct tape, in 2 parts, overall: 108 ⅛ × 167 ¾ inches (274.5 × 426 cm), Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Titus Kaphar, From Whence I Came, 2022

Oil on canvas with duct tape, in 2 parts, overall: 108 ⅛ × 167 ¾ inches (274.5 × 426 cm), Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Titus Kaphar, The Eye of Providence, 2022 ​Oil on canvas and wood panel with latex print on vinyl, 94 × 67 ¼ inches (238.8 × 170.8 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever​​

Titus Kaphar, The Eye of Providence, 2022

​Oil on canvas and wood panel with latex print on vinyl, 94 × 67 ¼ inches (238.8 × 170.8 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever​​

About

If we don’t amend history by making new images and new representations, we are always going to be excluding ourselves.
—Titus Kaphar

Painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and installation artist Titus Kaphar confronts history by dismantling classical structures and styles of visual representation in Western art in order to subvert them. Dislodging entrenched narratives from their status as “past” so as to understand and estimate their impact on the present, he exposes the conceptual underpinnings of contested nationalist histories and colonialist legacies and how they have served to manipulate both cultural and personal identity.

Through the deconstructive techniques of cutting, shredding, stitching, binding, and erasing both subject and support, Kaphar reconstructs new codes and modalities, reckoning on Black possibilities. In Yet Another Fight for Remembrance (2014), he used thick white brushstrokes to obscure the gesturing bodies of a group of African American men in the “Hands up, don’t shoot” position, and then repainted their outlines in black to reassert their formal presence. Thus the painting process itself became the embodiment of the ongoing struggle for social visibility and recognition. During his 2017 TED Talk, Kaphar performed, onstage, the whitewashing of his large-scale painting Shifting the Gaze (2017). Based on Frans Hals’s Family Group in a Landscape (1645–48), which portrays a wealthy Dutch family and their African servant,  Kaphar’s version eclipsed the family group with white paint, shifting attention entirely to the presence of this young servant.

Kaphar’s art addresses salient social and political concerns, but it also springs from his own life story. For example, his encounter with his estranged father, Jerome, has led to an ongoing multimedia exploration of the criminal justice system called The Jerome Project (2014–). This series of portraits began with Kaphar’s online discovery of the mug shots of ninety-seven African American men who shared his father’s first and last names. He paints gilded portraits of each man in the style of Byzantine devotional icons, and then dips them in tar. Initially, the depth to which each painting was immersed in tar corresponded to the time that each subject had spent behind bars; in later paintings, this has increased to represent the longer-term implications of social silencing that results from their incarceration.

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Titus Kaphar and Zoé Whitley sit in front of the artist’s artwork

In Conversation
Titus Kaphar and Zoé Whitley

Join Titus Kaphar and Zoé Whitley as they discuss the artist’s recent exhibition New Alte̲rs: Reworking Devotion, featuring paintings and sculptures in which Kaphar examines the history of representation by altering the work’s supports to reveal oft unspoken social and political truths.

Titus Kaphar at NXTHVN, New Haven, Connecticut

NXTHVN

NXTHVN is a new national arts model that empowers emerging artists and curators of color through education and access. Through intergenerational mentorship, professional development, and cross-sector collaboration, NXTHVN accelerates professional careers in the arts. Join Titus Kaphar and Jason Price on a tour of the organization’s headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut. They discuss the founding and vision for this singular arts space.

Titus Kaphar in his studio, touching his painting.

Titus Kaphar: From a Tropical Space

Join the artist in his studio in New Haven, Connecticut, where he speaks about his latest paintings.

Titus Kaphar: Can Beauty Open Our Hearts to Difficult Conversations?

Titus Kaphar: Can Beauty Open Our Hearts to Difficult Conversations?

In this TED talk, presented during the sweeping protests against racism and police violence following the killing of George Floyd, Titus Kaphar describes how the beauty of a painting can draw the viewer in and allow difficult conversations to emerge. Kaphar discusses his own work and shares the idea behind NXTHVN, a new national arts model he founded to empower artists of color through education and access.

Titus Kaphar, Braiding possibility, 2020, Oil on canvas, 83 3/4 × 68 inches (212.7 × 172.7 cm)

Seeing the Child: Braiding possibility

Titus Kaphar and Tochi Onyebuchi present an excerpt from their short story “Seeing the Child,” a poetic rumination on Kaphar’s latest body of work, From a Tropical Space (2019–).

Titus Kaphar in his studio, painting

Titus Kaphar: In the Studio

Jacoba Urist reports on a recent trip to the artist’s studio in New Haven, Connecticut, to see his new body of work, From a Tropical Space (2019–). She writes on the emotional and sensory impact of these paintings and considers their singular place in Titus Kaphar’s oeuvre.

Titus Kaphar, Father and Son, 2010, oil on canvas, 59 ⅞ × 48 inches (152 × 122 cm). Photo: Jon Lam Photography, courtesy Friedman Benda

Titus Kaphar: Intricate Illusion

Bridget R. Cooks investigates the aesthetic and narrative conventions deployed by the artist, demonstrating how his paintings force provocative confrontations with history through complex modes of depiction.

The artist Titus Kaphar giving a TED talk

Titus Kaphar: Can Art Amend History?

Join Titus Kaphar as he talks about making paintings and sculptures that wrestle with the struggles of the past while speaking to the diversity and advances of the present. Working onstage, he points to the narratives coded in the language of art history as he creates a new painting, demonstrating how shifting our focus can prompt us to ask questions and confront unspoken truths.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Gerhard Richter; © Amoako Boafo; © Richard Prince; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation; © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Stanley Whitney. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Art Fair

Art Basel Miami Beach 2022

December 1–3, 2022, Booth D5
Miami Beach Convention Center
artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to present a selection of modern and contemporary works at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Returning to Miami for the fair’s twentieth anniversary, the gallery is honored to have participated each year the fair has been held.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Gerhard Richter; © Amoako Boafo; © Richard Prince; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation; © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Stanley Whitney. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Installation view, Titus Kaphar: New Alte̲rs: Reworking Devotion, Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, March 17–May 15, 2022. Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Visit

London Gallery Weekend
Damien Hirst, Cristina Iglesias, Titus Kaphar, Richard Prince

May 13–15, 2022
London
londongalleryweekend.art

As part of London Gallery Weekend, Gagosian will have extended hours at all London locations, including the Gagosian Shop in Burlington Arcade, where visitors can browse Richard Prince artist’s books, posters, and other merchandise as part of his Shop takeover. Visitors can view the exhibitions Cristina Iglesias at Davies Street, which opens on Saturday, May 14; Titus Kaphar: New Alte̲rs: Reworking Devotion at Grosvenor Hill, before it closes on May 15; and Damien Hirst: Natural History at Britannia Street.

A range of activities will be offered, including exhibition tours and drop-in drawing hours for visitors of all ages, in addition to treats from Connaught Patisserie and Treats ClubIn its second year, London Gallery Weekend is a free annual event featuring over 150 of the city’s leading contemporary art galleries coming together to celebrate culture and creativity.

Installation view, Titus Kaphar: New Alte̲rs: Reworking Devotion, Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, March 17–May 15, 2022. Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Still from Shut Up and Paint (2022), directed by Titus Kaphar and Alex Mallis

Award

Shut Up and Paint
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Shut Up and Paint, a film directed by Titus Kaphar and Alex Mallis, has won the Best Short prize at the 2022 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, a competitive event that spotlights superior works in documentary filmmaking in four award categories. In the twenty-minute short, Kaphar looks to the medium of film in the face of an insatiable art market seeking to silence his activism. Winners in the Best Short and Best Mini Doc categories qualify for Academy Award nomination in the Short Documentary category.

Still from Shut Up and Paint (2022), directed by Titus Kaphar and Alex Mallis

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Museum Exhibitions

Titus Kaphar, Jerome I–V, 2014, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York © Titus Kaphar

On View

Titus Kaphar
The Jerome Project

Through January 16, 2023
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
www.gardnermuseum.org

In 2011, Titus Kaphar was coming to terms with the personal history of his estranged father, Jerome. Kaphar’s search for information led to the discovery of prison records and mug shots of ninety-seven men sharing his father’s first and last name. Painted mostly between 2014 and 2015, The Jerome Project (2014–) is not only a portrait series of incarcerated men named Jerome and their absence from the US national narrative but also a pondering of whose lived experiences we consider, whose we forget, and whose we erase.

Titus Kaphar, Jerome I–V, 2014, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York © Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, My Loss, 2020 © Titus Kaphar

On View

Titus Kaphar in
Metal of Honor: Gold from Simone Martini to Contemporary Art

Through January 16, 2023
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
www.gardnermuseum.org

Using a play on words, Metal of Honor explores how four artists from different times and places use gold as an artistic strategy for innovation and honor. Works by the medieval Italian artist Simone Martini are juxtaposed with those by three contemporary painters—Titus Kaphar, Stacy Lynn Waddell, and Kehinde Wiley. These artists reinterpret the style and medium of devotional imagery to explore the contemporary meaning of representation, commemoration, and adoration.

Titus Kaphar, My Loss, 2020 © Titus Kaphar

Sally Mann, Deep South, Untitled (Emmett Till River Bank), 1998 © Sally Mann

On View

New Symphony of Time

Opened September 7, 2019
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson
www.msmuseumart.org

New Symphony of Time expands the boundaries of Mississippi’s identity, casting light on a shared past to help reflect an expansive, more inclusive future. The exhibition aims to explore personal and collective memory, history and the connection to place, and the roles artists play in pursuit of civil rights and racial equity through ancestry. Themes include migration, movement, and home; shared humanity; environment; and liberty. Work by Titus Kaphar and Sally Mann is included.

Sally Mann, Deep South, Untitled (Emmett Till River Bank), 1998 © Sally Mann

Titus Kaphar, Billy Lee: Portrait in Tar, 2016 © Titus Kaphar

Closed

Titus Kaphar in
Revolve: Spotlight on the Permanent Collection

March 15–November 13, 2022
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida
www.cummermuseum.org

Throughout the Cummer Museum of Art’s sixty-year history, its permanent collection has grown from sixty objects to more than five thousand. This exhibition pairs works from the collection with loans from global contemporary artists working across media who explore the concepts of portraiture, landscape, cartography, allegory, and the natural world. Work by Titus Kaphar is included.

Titus Kaphar, Billy Lee: Portrait in Tar, 2016 © Titus Kaphar

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Press

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