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Titus Kaphar

From a Tropical Space

October 1–December 19, 2020
West 21st Street, New York

Installation view Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Rob McKeever

Works Exhibited

Titus Kaphar, Twins, 2020 Oil on canvas, 83 ¾ × 68 inches (212.7 × 172.7 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Alexander Harding

Titus Kaphar, Twins, 2020

Oil on canvas, 83 ¾ × 68 inches (212.7 × 172.7 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Alexander Harding

Titus Kaphar, From a Tropical Space, 2019 Oil on canvas, 90 × 70 inches (228.6 × 177.8 cm)© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, From a Tropical Space, 2019

Oil on canvas, 90 × 70 inches (228.6 × 177.8 cm)
© Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, The distance between what we have and what we want, 2019 Oil on canvas, 108 × 84 ¼ inches (274.3 × 214 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Alexander Harding

Titus Kaphar, The distance between what we have and what we want, 2019

Oil on canvas, 108 × 84 ¼ inches (274.3 × 214 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Alexander Harding

Titus Kaphar, Analogous Colors, 2020 Oil on canvas, 66 × 60 inches (167.6 × 152.4 cm)© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardner

Titus Kaphar, Analogous Colors, 2020

Oil on canvas, 66 × 60 inches (167.6 × 152.4 cm)
© Titus Kaphar. Photo: Christopher Gardner

About

Gagosian is pleased to present From a Tropical Space, an exhibition of new paintings by Titus Kaphar. This is Kaphar’s first exhibition with the gallery and inaugurates his representation.

A painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and installation artist, Kaphar reexamines American history by deconstructing existing representations and styles through his own formal innovations. His practice seeks to dislodge history from its status as “past” in order to understand its continuing impact on the present. Using materials including tar, glass, and rusted nails—together with highly refined oil painting—and employing techniques such as cutting, shredding, stitching, binding, and erasing, he reworks canonical art historical codes and conventions. And by uncovering the conceptual and narrative underpinnings of certain source images, he explores the manipulation of cultural and personal identity as a central thematic concern while inventing new narratives.

While much of Kaphar’s work begins with an exhaustive study of pre-twentieth-century master painting techniques, From a Tropical Space sees him wield these various methods to create an emotionally saturated visual landscape that is entirely contemporary. Just as artists, through time, have translated the fraught and mercurial sociopolitical contexts in which they operate into new and often radical aesthetic modes, so do the pervasive social and cultural anxieties of the world in which we find ourselves resonate throughout Kaphar’s new work.

Read more

West 21st Street, New York

522 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10011

+1 212 741 1717
newyork@gagosian.com

Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10–6 by appointment only

In the interest of public health, please read the new guidelines for visiting the West 21st Street gallery.

Schedule Appointment

Press

Polskin Arts
Meagan Jones
meagan.jones@finnpartners.com
+1 212 593 6485

Julia Esposito
julia.esposito@finnpartners.com
+1 212 715 1643

Gagosian
pressny@gagosian.com
+1 212 744 2313

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.

News

Titus Kaphar in his studio with his painting The Aftermath (2020), New Haven, Connecticut, 2020. Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: John Lucas

Artist Spotlight

Titus Kaphar

May 6–12, 2020

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.

Titus Kaphar in his studio with his painting The Aftermath (2020), New Haven, Connecticut, 2020. Artwork © Titus Kaphar. Photo: John Lucas

Titus Kaphar. Photo: Sasha Arutyunova

New Representation

Titus Kaphar

Gagosian is pleased to announce the representation of Titus Kaphar. A painter, sculptor, and filmmaker whose work addresses salient social and political concerns, Kaphar employs deconstructive techniques such as cutting, shredding, charring, and erasing, combining them with reconstructive acts such as stitching and binding to reexamine visual representation in Western art. Wielding the pictorial strategies of European classicists such as Diego Velázquez and Théodore Géricault in order to probe contested histories and colonialist legacies, he rewrites them into narratives of cultural empowerment. In his latest series of paintings, From a Tropical Space (2019–), Kaphar creates surreal, emotionally intense landscapes that are firmly rooted in the present. In conjunction with Kaphar’s representation by Gagosian, the gallery is also supporting NXTHVN (Next Haven), a nonprofit arts hub that the artist founded with Jason Price and Jonathan Brand in 2015 in the Dixwell neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut.

Titus Kaphar. Photo: Sasha Arutyunova