MoCA Detroit: FILM + MUSIC: THE DRAMASTICS ARE LOUD
FILM + MUSIC: THE DRAMASTICS ARE LOUD
Saturday, November 11, 8pm
Admission: Free ($5 suggested donation)
See Nathan Carter’s dioramas currently on view in Sonic Rebellion: Music as Resistance come to life during this highly entertaining short film which tells the story of four women who finish high school and start a punk band. The DRAMASTICS Are Loud was created, written, and directed entirely by Carter who also composed the music for the film. Immediately following the screening, the DRAMASTICS REVUE will do a live performance featuring music from the film.
JONATHAN MONK: NAME USED TO FILL SPACE | MÉLANGE, COLOGNE
NOVEMBER 9, 2017 — JANUARY 14, 2018
NATHAN CARTER | THE DRAMASTICS: A PUNK ROCK VICTORY TWISTER IN TEXAS | NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER, DALLAS
October 26, 2017 – January 28, 2018
Whitney Museum of American Art: Kevin Beasley | Fall 2018
Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, VA) engages with the legacy of the American South through a new installation that centers on a cotton gin motor from Maplesville, Alabama. In operation from 1940 to 1973, the motor powered the gins that separated cotton seeds from fiber. Here, the New York-based artist uses it to generate sound as if it were a musical instrument, creating space for visual and aural contemplation. Through the use of customized microphones, soundproofing, and audio hardware, the installation divorces the physical motor from the noises it produces, enabling visitors to experience sight and sound as distinct. As an immersive experience, the work serves as a meditation on history, land, race, and labor. This is Beasley’s first solo exhibition at a New York museum, and his most ambitious work to date.
This exhibition is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator, with Ambika Trasi, curatorial assistant.
No beginning / No end: Performance
In conjunction with the exhibition, Sin Principio / Sin Final, the Museum of Art of the National University of Colombia presents a collaboration between artist Mateo López and choreographer and dancer Lee Serle (Merbourne, Australia 1981).
Thursday October 26, 12PM, 5PM & Friday October 27, 12 PM
Frieze Magazine: Jordan Casteel Cover Feature Forthcoming
LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME | OFFICINE GRANDI RIPARAZIONI & FONDAZIONE SANDRETTO RE REBAUDENGO
OPENING RECEPTION: NOVEMBER 3, 2017
NOVEMBER 3, 2017–JANUARY 14, 2018
OFFICINE GRANDI RIPARAZIONI, CORSO CASTELFIDARO, TORINO
FONDAZIONE SANDRETTO RE REBAUDENGO, VIA MODANE, TORINO
The wide-ranging survey exhibition Like a Moth to a Flame, curated by Tom Eccles and Mark Rappolt with Liam Gillick, will officially inaugurate the Visual Arts Program at the renovated OGR in Turin—a 20,000 square-meter arts and innovation center opening in the fall of 2017.
The show will explore the eternal compulsion to produce and to collect works of art, displaying “objects” ranging from a 2nd century BCE Egyptian sculpture to works created for the last Venice Biennale, drawn together from Turin’s most prominent collections of art and antiquities. The exhibition title derives from the answer to a riddle—In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni—attributed to Virgil, which is also the title of two artworks—one by French theorist Guy Debord and one by British artist Cerith Wyn Evans—that are included in the exhibition.
Like a Moth to a Flame offers a portrait of Turin and its engagement with the world through the collecting habits of the city and its citizens. Assembling these objects provides an overview of the enduring appeal of art: its ability to renew ideas and generate fresh discourse. With rebirth and renewal in mind, the exhibition exploits the coincidence of one birth and two anniversaries—the inauguration of OGR, the 25th anniversary of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s collection of contemporary art and the 60th anniversary of founding of the Situationist International following a meeting in Alba, not far from Turin.
The exhibition, with more than 50 major artworks and hundreds of individual objects from the collections of Turin, demonstrates the importance of private passions and individual obsessions which, over time, find their way into the civic realm and the public cultural life of the city.
Artists Announced for Liverpool Biennial
We are thrilled to announce the participation of gallery artists Kevin Beasley and Brian Jungen in the 10th Edition of the Liverpool Biennial in 2018.
The 10th edition of Liverpool Biennial, Beautiful world, where are you?, invites artists and audiences to reflect on a world of social, political and economic turmoil.
The artistic concept and title for Beautiful world, where are you? derives from a 1788 poem by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, later set to music by Austrian composer Franz Schubert in 1819. The years between the composition of Schiller’s poem and Schubert’s song saw great upheaval and profound change in Europe, from the French Revolution to the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. Today the poem continues to suggest a world gripped by deep uncertainty; a world of social, political and environmental turmoil. It can be seen as a lament but also as an invitation to reconsider our past, advancing a new sense of beauty that might be shared in a more equitable way.
The Biennial programme is presented in locations across Liverpool including public spaces and the city’s leading art venues: Bluecoat, FACT, Open Eye Gallery, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University’s Exhibition Research Lab, National Museums Liverpool, RIBA North, the Liverpool Playhouse, Victoria Gallery & Museum (University of Liverpool), and Blackburne House.
Liverpool Biennial 2018 is curated by Kitty Scott (Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario) and Sally Tallant (Director, Liverpool Biennial) with the Liverpool Biennial team: Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey (Head of Production and International Projects), Sinéad McCarthy (Curator), Polly Brannan (Education Curator), and Joasia Krysa (Head of Research).
Harvard Graduate School of Design Rouse Visiting Artist Lecture: Liam Gillick
Monday, October 16, 2017 | 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Free & Open to the Public
Visual artist Liam Gillick will discuss his art practice and his recent book published by Columbia University Press, entitled Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820. The book takes a broad view of artistic creation from 1820 to today as Gillick follows the response of artists to incremental developments in science, politics, and technology. The great innovations and dislocations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have their place in this timeline, but their traces are alternately amplified and diminished as Gillick moves through artistic reactions to liberalism, mass manufacturing, psychology, nuclear physics, automobiles, and a host of other advances. He intimately ties the origins of contemporary art to the social and technological adjustments of modern life, which artists struggled to incorporate truthfully into their works.
La Freccia Arte About the Artist: Giorgio Griffa, Know the Unknowable
One of his 1972 exhibitions was called I Don’t Represent Anything, I Paint. Since the 1960’s he has been using paintbrushes, pasting brushes, faint or bright colours on rough canvas without frame, which he unrolls on the floor and fills with markings, one after the other. The art of Giorgio Griffa, born in 1936, reveals itself through drawn metaphors, and illustrates bits of reality through arabesques, lines, and numbers that he defines as “suggestions.” His artistic analysis pursues the mystery of poetry and of life, with the goal of increasing knowledge of the world without any ambition of representing it – all he wants is to mentally journey through it. He has brought a diptych, Canone Aureo 958 (Agnes Martin), a segment of a project he began in 1979 to the Biennale Arte 2017.
SG – Maestro, how would you summarize your 60 years of activity?
GG – I have painted painting, what has always been represented by painters of all times and civilisations, obviously following the reference of their own time and place. Over all these years, this is what I have done, which is why I feel I am a traditional painter.
SG – What do your markings mean?
GG – They represent the world as we know it today, it’s becoming perennial and fractioned into billions of shapes. My works are never abstract; I have simply abandoned the images that had become super uous for my work. Simple painted markings, bearers of a millenary memory that is much longer, richer and more complex than mine – this is what makes up my work. My painting is not at the service of my memory: instead, my hand is at the service of my work.
SG – The man and the artist, Giorgio and the character. Are they different or do they infiltrate each other?
GG – This kind of contamination is the origin of life, of all kinds of life. But it should never be mistaken for pollution.
SG – What kind of Biennale is this 57th edition?
GG – Absolutely beautiful. Open to what art can offer beyond the limits of reason, beyond theories, and blooming to the undeterminable themes of poetry.
SG – You have participated at the Open Table project, one of this year’s novelties…
GG – A very positive experience. I found an attentive, participating and convivial audience; those people had obviously chosen to be there, they were interested in it.
SG – The work of art dearest to your heart?
GG – Matisse’s Dance.
SG – A banal question, perhaps: what is art?
GG – Nothing banal about that! I believe the answer to this question are the works themselves, and all the limits and rules, always broken. Art is getting to know the unknowable that is within us.
Artnet News: Julie Mehretu and Other All-Star Artists Blast Trump’s Immigration Ban in a New Poster Campaign
In recent weeks, curators at 30 leading museums across the US have been receiving surprise packages. Each one contains posters by major artists created in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
Nine artists—Joan Jonas, Barbara Kruger, Julie Mehretu, Chitra Ganesh, Liam Gillick, Walid Raad, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Danh Vo, and Anicka Yi—banded together as a collective called “Artists Against the Immigration Ban” to create the works.
Their project, which remained under wraps for months, takes on new meaning in light of the latest executive order, signed by Trump on Sunday, which bars citizens of certain, mostly Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. Unlike the two earlier travel bans, the most recent of which was set to expire over the weekend, these new restrictions are designed to be in place indefinitely.
The poster project began in February, when art historians Bettina Funcke and Amy Zion expressed their opposition to the original immigration order in a letter they posted online. The text argues that “our field is dependent on international collaboration and cross-cultural exchange” and that the ban would prevent some artists from leaving the country for fear that they would be denied re-entry.
After the letter received a strong response, “we asked the artists if they’d put the letter in their own words, if they’d rewrite it, or redesign it,” a representative for the project told artnet News.
Organizers scanned and printed the resulting posters as high-quality archival prints. Then, they mailed them—unsolicited and without warning—to leading contemporary art institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Each package came with a cover letter asking museums to make their own judgement about what to do with its contents. “Artists don’t normally send stuff to museums out of the blue,” the representative said. “If these get accepted into collections, it means that there’s a record of this time that’s very different from a protest or an exhibition.”
The first institution to respond was New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which quickly shared the nine works in a blog post on the museum’s website last week.
“At certain critical junctures in American history, artists have come together to protest injustice and craft counter-narratives to the prevailing voices in government,” wrote Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s artistic director and chief curator, characterizing the artists’ posters as the latest in a long line of protest art, stretching back through the AIDS Crisis, demonstrations against the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement.
The new order targets Iran—with the exception of student visas—Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea, removing Sudan from the list. Venezuelan government officials and their families are also barred, while citizens of Iraq will be “subject to additional scrutiny.”
It remains to be seen how the new order will be received by the courts. Oral arguments in the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the earlier ban were scheduled to be heard next month.
Artists involved in the poster project did not hesitate to voice their opposition to the latest version of the order. “Nothing that Trump and his lackeys do should come as a surprise,” Kruger told artnet News in an email. “When I hear people say they’re ‘shocked’ at whatever the latest episode of this manipulative and grotesquely tragic con is, it just makes my head spin. It’s that very lack of imagination that helped enable this takeover of resolute ignorance and raging white grievance.”
“And for those who didn’t vote or ‘voted their conscience,’ I would say that the world is bigger than their narcissistic conscience,” she added. “Their naive but arrogantly triumphalist kind of ideological purity and lack of strategic political thinking plus the insane blind spots and incompetence of the Democratic Party has helped bring us to this raw and brutal moment.” Kruger created her poster using her signature Futura Bold Oblique typeface, with white text on a red background.
The artist Liam Gillick, who is originally from the UK, told artnet News that the ban has changed his relationship to the US. “I wasn’t born here, but it’s my home. What you learn when you grow up outside of America, is that the country is built on immigration…. I feel nervous. The whole idea [of the travel ban] is kind of un-American in a philosophical sense and a human sense.” For his contribution, Gillick overlaid the group’s message on top of an original text, titled “A Long Sentence From an Angry White Man.”
Ganesh also wrote a text of her own to accompany the group’s message. She calls on museums to join her in denouncing the order, insisting that “part of our resistance as an arts community is to use our skills, platforms, experience, and art practices to disrupt, imagine, inspire, and above all make clear that we will do everything we can to refuse normalizing the frightening political shifts signaled by a so-called ‘Muslim ban.’”
“This order institutionalizes xenophobia and racism by targeting people entering the US based on their nationality and religion” Ganesh wrote. “This government makes it clear that it seeks to pursue policies that are antithetical to life, justice, compassion, and art… which daily embolden violence against people based on perceptions of race, gender, and economic status.”
As the country reacts to the latest iteration of the ban, the conclusion of the original letter still stands as a bold declaration: “The entirety of the Executive Order is unjust and must be overturned.”
-Sarah Cascone, September 25, 2017
Kevin Beasley included in Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/ Giuffrida Collection at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Solidary & Solitary, drawn from the Joyner/Giuffrida collection, tells the history of art by African-American artists from the 1940s to the present moment. That story is a complicated one, woven from the threads of debates about how to represent blackness; social struggle and change; and migrations and diasporas, particularly in relation to Africa, a recent area of expansion for the collection. The collection is primarily focused on abstract art, broadly understood; this is a meaningful political focus, rather than a stylistic preference. For black artists, abstraction is charged with the refusal of representation that is socially dictated, both by racist stereotypes of the dominant culture, and the pressure from within the black community to create positive imagery. Abstract art as a practice embodies the possibility of individual freedom and autonomy, even within larger social identities. The Joyner Giuffrida Collection has emphasized and celebrated individual specificity and achievement in collecting the work of many artists in-depth, even as it also ties the artists together in an intergenerational history. That intergenerational history is a story of mutual aid and care, of artistic inspiration—the power for a young artist of seeing another black person as a creative producer. The final element of Solidary & Solitary is implicit: the historical support of African-American collectors that has made it possible for generations of artists to sustain a livelihood and career outside the mainstream. Today, those collectors, together with scholars, curators, and other supporters, have been instrumental in claiming a seat at the central table for these artists. Solidary & Solitary celebrates the achievement of individual artists, the collective history told by their art, and the social changes that have changed the way we understand art history in the broadest sense.
It is essential that these histories be told, that the possibilities of individual achievement, collective identity, and genuine, institutional social change be made vivid, concrete, and beautiful. Only by remembering and understanding these histories can we move forward towards a different future, collectively imagined.
This exhibition is curated by: Christopher Bedford, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director, The Baltimore Museum of Art and Katy Siegel, Senior Programming and Research Curator, The Baltimore Museum of Art
Artists in Solidary & Solitary include: Kevin Beasley, Mark Bradford, Leonardo Drew, Melvin Edwards, Charles Gaines, Sam Gilliam, Jennie C. Jones, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Shinique Smith, Tavares Strachan, Jack Whitten, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Event: September 30 @ 3:00 – 4:00pm
BLACK ARTISTS/NEW HISTORIES: A CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER BEDFORD, COURTNEY J. MARTIN & KATY SIEGEL
The Ogden presents a discussion about the exhibition Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, Presented by The Helis Foundation. Panelist include the curators of the exhibition Christopher Bedford, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art; Katy Siegel, Senior Curator for Research and Programming at The Baltimore Museum of Art; and Courtney J. Martin, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Dia Art Foundation.
The conversation will encompass the spectrum of questions and possibilities around black artists and history. How have black artists been written into history, and even more, how have they changed history?
This panel is free and open to the public.
The New Yorker
In one of the most buzzed-about débuts of the fall season, Casteel shows large figurative canvases that combine the candid immediacy of the digital snapshots on which they’re based with the restraint and humanity of an Alice Neel portrait. The young Colorado-born phenom worked almost entirely from pictures she took in Harlem of men, at night. Casteel’s subjects, like the artist herself, are black, and her work tackles the representation of race in general, while revelling, as painters will, in the specific details. In “Q,” a man sits on a stoop next to a sketched-in green railing, earnestly consulting his iPhone, and wearing a sweatshirt with an image of Biggie Smalls in wraparound shades, a gold chain, and a Coogi sweater. In “MegaStarBrand’s Louie and A-Thug,” two well-turned-out young men sprawl with authority in folding chairs on the sidewalk, gazing skeptically out of frame. One wears a shirt that says “REASON,” the other is in a T-shirt that reads “T.H.U.G.: THE HATE YOU GAVE US.” In her exhilarating, if uneven, show, Casteel gives nothing but love.
Jordan Casteel Featured in Barneys New York Fall Catalogue
When Jordan Casteel decided to go to art school, she and her mother sat down at a computer and googled “Best MFA in America.” Columbia, Yale, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago came up. With no formal training, Casteel, who grew up in Denver and studied at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, applied to all three. “I put those long shots out into the universe and got a response back inviting me for an interview at Yale,” she says.
Even then, her expectations were minimal. “I went in with the intention of being a learner—just to ask a lot of questions, so I was pretty relaxed,” she says. It was only when she was waiting for her turn to interview, Casteel recalled, that “a girl came out before me, and she looked petrified, like literally crying. And I thought: ‘Oh. Huh. I might actually be over my head.’
She wasn’t, though, and after being accepted to and enrolling in Yale, Casteel hit on a project that she’s continued ever since: painting deeply empathetic, searingly intimate yet reverential portraits of black men. Casteel’s subjects stare frankly at the viewer. Young and old, nude and clothed, smiling or somewhat standoffish—each portrait is intensely, urgently personal.
She started out painting students at the Yale School of Drama. Today, her subjects range from friends and family members to people in her Harlem neighborhood who happen to catch her eye. “I was thinking about how I can represent them as people who I love and know intimately,” she says. “How can people begin to see them as I see them?”
The impetus for the work was George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin. “I was just so distraught,” she continued. “I thought, now it’s time to merge social justice and art together, and build a meaningful dialogue.” The socially charged series was almost instantaneously a success. After graduating from Yale, Casteel had her first solo show in New York at the gallery Sargent’s Daughters, and then was invited to be an artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. This fall, she’ll have a show at the Casey Kaplan gallery in New York, and in the winter of 2019, the Denver Art Museum will open a solo exhibition of her work. “It’s not that I’ve had low expectations for myself,” Casteel says. “But I have a lot of gratitude, because I never thought I’d be here.”
The Art Newspaper: Private View: Jordan Casteel, Leon Polk Smith And Jack Whitten
The 28-year-old Casteel has her debut at Kaplan following a packed dance card of group shows over the past two years, from the Studio Museum in Harlem to MassMOCA. The 2014 Yale MFA grad (raised on a diet of Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence by her grandmother, a collector) makes empathic, large-scale portraits of black men and recently began painting from portraits she takes of men she observes on the street in Harlem at night. In one, Casteel locks eyes with Harold, seated just beyond the fluoro glow of a Laundromat; in another, a man identified as Tito interrupts his own story to describe it with a gesture. Casteel allows the visual cacophony of settings to envelop but never swallow her subjects. The artist inserts herself invisibly into the frame, bearing witness through achingly specific details—a trait shared by another painter of Harlem denizens, Alice Neel.
GEOFFREY FARMER: THE CARE WITH WHICH THE RAIN IS WRONG AT SCHINKEL PAVILLON, BERLIN
SEPTEMBER 17 – NOVEMBER 12
Schinkel Pavillon is pleased to announce the opening of Geoffrey Farmer’s (b. 1967, Vancouver) The Care With Which The Rain is Wrong, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Berlin. On the occasion of Berlin Art Week, Farmer will present two large-scale, site-specific installations – in the Pavillon’s rotundas in the souterrain and in the glass pavilion on the first floor.
Farmer’s work reflects a fascination with the cultural and art historical archives of humankind. By meticulously collecting images, objects and sounds of various subjects over long periods of time, Farmer develops detailed installations that often remain in a continuous state of transformation.
An example of such can be seen in Boneyard, which will take up almost the entire souterrrain octagon of the Schinkel Klause. An auditorium will be created consisting of over 1,200 miniature paper cut-outs of paintings, sculptures, and characters from different eras, contexts and materials. Arranged as a circle at the center of the rotunda, the grouping will come together to form an art historical cabinet or collegium. For this installation, the artist will make additions to the already existing paper cut-outs and will redevelop the text as an integral part of the work. Free-standing or on pedestals, facing and at the same time turned away from each other, the narratives of the presented individual bodies and characters intertwine, revealing harmony or opposition between their makers, contemporary witnesses, and world views.
On the first floor the artist will present Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell, a digital, computer-generated projection compiled of an archive of over 15,000 snapshots, which he continuously modifies and expands. The vast range of imagery is gathered from politics, ethnographic studies, anonymous portraits, lifestyle and business, agriculture and other industries. This collection of images and sounds is combined into a synchronized hypnotic installation, inducing a seemingly overwhelming richness of impressions and offering endless associations and interconnections. A computer algorithm reshuffles each sequence, creating an entirely new projection and taking on a different shape for each visitor. For the presentation, Geoffrey Farmer will add a significant volume of images to the archive that will specifically relate to the historically charged location of the Schinkel Pavillon and the city of Berlin itself.
ARTNEWS: 9 Art Events to Attend in New York City This Week
For her first exhibition at Casey Kaplan, New York–based artist Jordan Casteel will present a series of large-scale oil paintings of men she photographed while wandering the streets of Harlem. Like most of Casteel’s work, her new paintings—introspective and given largely to subjects seated in their natural environments—address relationships between individuals and the spaces they live in, often touching on issues related to class and race in the process.
ARTSY: The 15 New York Shows You Need to See This September
Esteemed for the engrossing portraits that came out of her 2015 residency at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Casteel creates honest, intimate paintings of members of her community, from family members to men she’s met along 125th Street. The new, large-scale portraits in “Nights in Harlem” at Casey Kaplan advance Casteel’s depictions of black men, the works now based on photographs she’s taken of strangers in the neighborhood. Painting her subjects in cool blues, backlit by the warm glow of streetlights, Casteel conveys individuals’ personal stories, while subtly tackling broader sociopolitical concerns.
ARTNEWS: Matthew Ronay Is Now Represented by Casey Kaplan
Casey Kaplan gallery in New York now represents Matthew Ronay, the Brooklyn-based artist whose sculptures brings together a mix of fancifully colored elements that resemble the cogs of machinery or dripping liquids. Ronay previously showed at New York’s Andrea Rosen Gallery, which announced in February that it would close its regularly operating public space and cease representing living artists.
Ronay’s works can recall the ceramics of Ken Price and Ron Nagle, both of whom frequently rely on bright hues and combinations of unlike forms in their sculptures. For Ronay, this format becomes a way to evoke the nonsensicality of all the useless objects you can buy, as well as the way organic and inorganic elements are so often combined these days.
Ronay’s work was most recently on view in Los Angeles, where the artist had a solo show at Marc Foxx gallery, which also represents him. He has also had one-person shows of late at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston (in 2016), the Pérez Art Museum Miami (2016), and Kunstverein Lingen in Germany (2014). He will have his first one-person exhibition at Casey Kaplan in 2019.
Jordan Casteel for Interview Magazine
Jordan Casteel applied to Yale’s MFA program on a dare from her mother. “She and I were googling ‘best art schools,’” says the 28-year-old Colorado native. “Yale popped up first. I applied with no expectations.” The university responded favorably to the young artist’s leap of faith, and three years after graduating, Casteel still considers the experience a formative one. “I was lucky enough to grow up with work by Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, and Jacob Lawrence,” she says. “But it wasn’t until I got to school that I found artists like Kerry James Marshall and Henry Taylor. They helped me formulate my own voice, my own style.”
Like Marshall and Taylor, Casteel focuses on representations of the black body. Where she differs is in perspective: her canvases are informed by the female gaze, and as a result, she tends to focus on men. Pushing against the preposterous yet pervasive generalizations of black men as aggressors, the artist infuses her subjects with tender contradictions, such as Miles and Jojo, a 2015 painting of a father and son with a toothy stuffed monster propped in the son’s arms. The intimacy of the work can be traced to her painting process, which begins with photography. “I take hundreds of images,” Casteel says. “Very rarely does a singular shot determine the whole composition.” Casteel’s muses have varied from actors to friends, often posed in cramped domestic interiors in various states of undress.
Recently, she’s begun approaching strangers she encounters on the street during her commute from her apartment in Harlem to her studio in Brooklyn. “So often in New York we just walk by each other,” Casteel says. “I wanted to find a way to engage.” To her surprise, most have been open to posing for her camera. “When I ask someone if I can take their picture, I have to step outside my comfort zone,” says the self-proclaimed introvert. “I think if that discomfort went away, I would find something else to paint. For me, it’s about this kind of two-sided generosity.”
For her solo show at New York’s Casey Kaplan gallery in September, Casteel plans to unveil a new series inspired by Harlem nights. Such scenes include a painting of a man with dreadlocks walking two small dogs down the sidewalk and an elderly man, illuminated by an open door, lounging in a plastic lawn chair. As with all her shows, Casteel will invite her subjects to the opening. “A huge part of my work comes from the desire to create community,” she says. “The paintings have the lifespan of an object, but the relationships have a history, a life, of their own.” –Kat Herriman
Photography: Sebastian Kim; Styling: Michelle Cameron