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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, Behind the Myth of Benevolence, 2014

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

Titus Kaphar, Jerome LVII (2015) and Jerome LVIII (2015) Oil, gold leaf, and tar on wood panel, each: 10 × 9 inches (25.4 × 22.9 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardener

Titus Kaphar, Jerome LVII (2015) and Jerome LVIII (2015)

Oil, gold leaf, and tar on wood panel, each: 10 × 9 inches (25.4 × 22.9 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardener

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, Billy Lee: Portrait in Tar, 2016 Tar and oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches (152.4 × 121.9 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Jeremy Lawson

Titus Kaphar, Billy Lee: Portrait in Tar, 2016

Tar and oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches (152.4 × 121.9 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Jeremy Lawson

Titus Kaphar, Ona Judge: Portrait in Tar, 2016 Tar and oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches (152.4 × 121.9 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Jeremy Lawson

Titus Kaphar, Ona Judge: Portrait in Tar, 2016

Tar and oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches (152.4 × 121.9 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Jeremy Lawson

Titus Kaphar, Twisted Tropes, 2016 Oil on canvas with antique frame, 53 × 57 × 11 inches (134.6 × 144.8 × 28 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardener

Titus Kaphar, Twisted Tropes, 2016

Oil on canvas with antique frame, 53 × 57 × 11 inches (134.6 × 144.8 × 28 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardener

Titus Kaphar, Impressions of Liberty, 2017 American sycamore, plywood, glass, high density urethane, graphite, and LED lights, 84 × 86 × 36 inches (213.4 × 218.4 × 91.4 cm), installation view, Maclean House, Princeton University, New Jersey© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey

Titus Kaphar, Impressions of Liberty, 2017

American sycamore, plywood, glass, high density urethane, graphite, and LED lights, 84 × 86 × 36 inches (213.4 × 218.4 × 91.4 cm), installation view, Maclean House, Princeton University, New Jersey
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey

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, State Number Two (Dwayne Betts), 2019 Tar and oil on canvas, 59 ½ × 75 ¾ × 2 ⅞ inches (151.1 × 192.4 × 7.3 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Kris Graves

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

Tar and oil on canvas, 59 ½ × 75 ¾ × 2 ⅞ inches (151.1 × 192.4 × 7.3 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Kris Graves

Installation view, Redaction: A Project by Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, MoMA PS1, New York, March 31–May 5, 2019 Artwork © Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Matthew Septimus

Installation view, Redaction: A Project by Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, MoMA PS1, New York, March 31–May 5, 2019

Artwork © Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Matthew Septimus

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

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 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

In Conversation

at home: Symposium
Titus Kaphar, Arthur Lewis, and Hau Nguyen

Friday, September 17, 2021, 12pm EDT

Titus Kaphar will be in conversation with art collectors Arthur Lewis and Hau Nguyen as part of the at home: Symposium at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. The trio will discuss Kaphar’s practice and the importance of supporting emerging artists, artists of color, and local art communities. The talk will be moderated by Abigail Lamphier, senior curatorial assistant at the Center. Focusing on “The Politics of the Portrait,” the three-part online symposium considers potential solutions and alternatives regarding the history, display, and making of portraits and the role of representation in today’s sociopolitical climate. To attend the online event, register at yale.zoom.us.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Ed Ruscha, © Mark Tansey, © Glenn Brown, © Succession Picasso 2021, © Jenny Saville, © Albert Oehlen, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, © Cy Twombly Foundation, © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Art Fair

Art Basel 2021

September 24–26, 2021, hall 2, booth C8
Messe Basel
artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel 2021 with modern and contemporary works by gallery artists, as well as several special entries in the Unlimited and Parcours sectors of the fair.

Gagosian’s booth in the main sector of the fair will feature works by Georg Baselitz, Glenn Brown, John Currin, Urs Fischer, Helen Frankenthaler, Titus Kaphar, Rick Lowe, Albert Oehlen, Sterling Ruby, and Mary Weatherford, among others. A selection of these works will also appear on gagosian.com and on Art Basel’s Online Viewing Room.

To receive a pdf with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Ed Ruscha, © Mark Tansey, © Glenn Brown, © Succession Picasso 2021, © Jenny Saville, © Albert Oehlen, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, © Cy Twombly Foundation, © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Redaction (San Francisco), 2020 © Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Christopher Gardner

In Conversation

Titus Kaphar and Diana Pumpelly Bates
Moderated by Bridget R. Cooks

Friday, July 16, 2021, 3pm EDT

Join Titus Kaphar and fellow artist Diana Pumpelly Bates for a conversation about Black creativity, artistic inspiration, and the importance of mentorship. This discussion, held in conjunction with the traveling exhibition The Black Index, will be moderated by exhibition curator Bridget R. Cooks. To attend the online event, register at eventbrite.com.

Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Redaction (San Francisco), 2020 © Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Christopher Gardner

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Museum Exhibitions

Ellen Gallagher, Untitled, 2000 © Ellen Gallagher

On View

Icons

Through November 14, 2021
Boghossian Foundation, Brussels
www.villaempain.com

From early European and Middle Eastern artifacts to modern and contemporary works, icons have inspired many believers, as well as artists, throughout the ages. This exhibition explores how spiritual dimensions have been incorporated into artworks from antiquity to the present day. Work by Michael Craig-Martin, Ellen Gallagher, Douglas Gordon, Duane Hanson, Titus Kaphar, and Andy Warhol is included.

Ellen Gallagher, Untitled, 2000 © Ellen Gallagher

Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Redaction (San Francisco), 2020 © Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Christopher Gardner

On View

Titus Kaphar in
The Black Index

Through December 11, 2021
Art Galleries at Black Studies, University of Texas at Austin
www.galleriesatut.org

The artists featured in The Black Index build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images. Using drawing, performance, printmaking, sculpture, and digital technology to transform the recorded image, they question our reliance on photography as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding. Their works offer an alternative practice—a Black index—that serves as a finding aid for information about Black subjects, but also challenges viewers’ desire for classification. Work by Titus Kaphar is included. This exhibition originated at the Contemporary Arts Center Gallery, University of California, Irvine.

Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Redaction (San Francisco), 2020 © Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Christopher Gardner

Taryn Simon, Press XL, from the series Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015, Brooklyn Museum, New York © Taryn Simon

On View

The Slipstream
Reflection, Resilience, and Resistance in the Art of Our Time

Through March 20, 2022
Brooklyn Museum, New York
www.brooklynmuseum.org

The Slipstream draws examples from Brooklyn Museum’s contemporary art collection to contemplate the profound disruption that occurred in 2020. Borrowing its title from an aeronautical term that refers to the pull of the current that is left in the wake of a large and powerful object, the exhibition examines the placement and displacement of power that runs through American history and continues today. The show features more than sixty works by multiple generations of artists from the 1960s to the present day, including Titus Kaphar and Taryn Simon.

Taryn Simon, Press XL, from the series Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015, Brooklyn Museum, New York © Taryn Simon

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

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Press

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