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Titus Kaphar: From a Tropical Space

In the decade or so since Titus Kaphar’s work began to receive national attention (he earned an MFA from Yale in 2006), he has galvanized viewers with a series of performative actions that use handmade versions of characteristic period paintings to either reveal a condition of racial injustice in pictorial terms, or, in some works, even address the subjects’ personal histories as slaveholders. His range of techniques for “correcting” these replicas of the past have included cutting, shredding, and crumpling his canvases, as well as draping them, rolling them up, and dipping them in tar. Kaphar has also worked with more recent documentary content using comparable methods, most famously in the painting he produced in 2014 for Time Magazine’s cover story following racial justice demonstrations in Ferguson. This image focused on young male protestors, shown with their hands in the air while simultaneously being whitewashed out of the picture...

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