Titus Kaphar's artworks interact with the history of art by appropriating its styles and mediums.

Why you should listen

As Titus Kaphar says of his work: "I’ve always been fascinated by history: art history, American history, world history, individual history -- how history is written, recorded, distorted, exploited, reimagined and understood. In my work I explore the materiality of reconstructive history. I paint and I sculpt, often borrowing from the historical canon, and then alter the work in some way. I cut, crumple, shroud, shred, stitch, tar, twist, bind, erase, break, tear and turn the paintings and sculptures I create, reconfiguring them into works that nod to hidden narratives and begin to reveal unspoken truths about the nature of history."

Kaphar is founder/CEO of the PostMasters Project, a multidisciplinary arts incubator that's being built to train professional artists and to further establish New Haven's growing creative community. His latest works are an investigation into the highest and lowest forms of recording history. From monuments to mug shots, this body of work exhibited at Jack Shainman gallery December-January 2017 seeks to collapse the line of American history to inhabit a fixed point in the present. Historical portraiture, mug shots, and YouTube stills challenge viewers to consider how we document the past, and what we have erased. Rather than explore guilt or innocence, Kaphar engages the narratives of individuals and how we as a society manage and define them over time. As a whole, this exhibition explores the power of rewritten histories to question the presumption of innocence and the mythology of the heroic.

Titus Kaphar’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Titus Kaphar

Live from TED2017

One move ahead: The talks of Session 1 of TED2017

April 25, 2017

TED2017 begins with a manifesto: “We will not sleepwalk into a future of dread. Instead we will pursue: courage, deep human connection, imagination, thrilling possibility, understanding. The Future You is yet to be written. Let’s write it together.” In a comprehensive opening session — hosted by TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson, and streamed live to 800 […]

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