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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.

Created in response to the covid-19 pandemic, the Artist Spotlight series highlights individual artists, one week at a time, whose exhibitions have been affected by the health crisis. A single artwork by the artist is made available with pricing information for forty-eight hours only.

Artist Spotlight: Titus Kaphar features a new work directly from the artist’s studio. For more information, please contact the gallery at collecting@gagosian.com.

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

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

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.

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.

Related News

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 join 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

Titus Kaphar in his studio, New Haven, Connecticut, 2020. Artwork © Titus Kaphar

Award

Titus Kaphar
2020 WSJ Magazine Innovator Award

On November 11, 2020, Titus Kaphar was honored at the 2020 WSJ Magazine Innovator Awards, which has been recognizing inspiring talents from a variety of cultural pursuits for a decade. The musician and producer Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean presented the Art Innovator award to Kaphar, whose work explores the limited representation of Black people in Western painting and whose multidisciplinary arts incubator, NXTHVN, breaks the mold for nonprofit organizations. In the past the red-carpet event has been held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, but this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was filmed. To watch the ceremony, visit the WSJ Magazine’s YouTube channel

Titus Kaphar in his studio, New Haven, Connecticut, 2020. Artwork © Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, From a Tropical Space, 2019 © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Alexander Harding

In Conversation

Titus Kaphar
Zoé Whitley

Monday, July 13, 2020, 11–11:30am EDT

Joining from his arts incubator NXTHVN in New Haven, Connecticut, Titus Kaphar will speak with Zoé Whitley, director at Chisenhale Gallery in London, live on the Design Emergency Instagram account. The pair will discuss Kaphar’s cover and accompanying written piece for the June 15, 2020, issue of Time, as well the artist’s use of absence as a form of visual expression. Founded by Paola Antonelli and Alice Rawsthorn, Design Emergency is an initiative that explores design’s impact on and role in the covid-19 crisis. To watch the live conversation, visit Design Emergency’s Instagram.

Titus Kaphar, From a Tropical Space, 2019 © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Alexander Harding

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Museum Exhibitions

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

Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Uncle Dope, 2017 © Nathaniel Mary Quinn. Photo: Michael Tropea

Closed

Black American Portraits

November 7, 2021–April 17, 2022
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
www.lacma.org

Remembering Two Centuries of Black American Art, guest curated by David Driskell at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1976, and complementing the presentation at lacma of The Obama Portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, Black American Portraits reframes portraiture to center Black American subjects, sitters, and spaces. Spanning more than two centuries from circa 1800 to the present day, this selection of approximately 140 works draws primarily from lacma’s permanent collection and chronicles the ways in which Black Americans have used portraiture to envision themselves in their own eyes. Countering a visual culture that often demonizes Blackness and fetishizes the spectacle of Black pain, these images center love, abundance, family, community, and exuberance. Work by Titus Kaphar and Nathaniel Mary Quinn is included.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Uncle Dope, 2017 © Nathaniel Mary Quinn. Photo: Michael Tropea

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

Closed

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

May 14, 2021–April 10, 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, Rick Lowe, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, and Taryn Simon.

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

Installation view, The Black Index, Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, City University of New York, February 1–April 3, 2022. Artwork © Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Stan Narten

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Titus Kaphar in
The Black Index

February 1–April 3, 2022
Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, City University of New York
www.leubsdorfgallery.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. This exhibition originated at the Contemporary Arts Center Gallery, University of California, IrvineWork by Titus Kaphar is included. 

Installation view, The Black Index, Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, City University of New York, February 1–April 3, 2022. Artwork © Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts. Photo: Stan Narten

See all Museum Exhibitions for Titus Kaphar