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Titus Kaphar, Artist of the Times, Paints With Eyes Open

"As soon as I agreed to do the TIME cover, I immediately started to regret it. I didn’t think through how accessible I would feel,” Titus Kaphar confesses while seated on a stool, applying swift, careful strokes to the unfinished crowd in a basketball-related tableau titled Ascension IV on his studio wall. “I did not regret making the painting that is on the TIME cover or writing the poem that accompanies it,” he clarifies, eyes trained on the composition before him. “Those are real. I did regret how vulnerable I suddenly became, public in a way I’ve never been before.”...

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