Figuration now

 

A number of artists working in North America have taken up figuration despite the continuing popularity of other forms of art, particularly non-figurative conceptual work and abstraction.

 

Among these are minority artists.

 

 

 

Walls of Identity, Walls of Pride, Philadelphia, 2007

 

 

A 2019 survey of major  North American museums found that only 1.2% of their collections are by Black artists who make up 13% of the population.

 

 

 

Walls of Identity, Walls of Pride, Philadelphia, 2007

 

 

The stats for Hispanics and Asian-Americans – 18% and 7.2% of the population – are equally bizarre. Ditto the stats for women of all ethnic groups.

 

We are beginning to see exhibited more and more of the work of minorities.

 

 

 

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Walls of Identity, Walls of Pride, Philadelphia, 2007

 

 

The result of mea culpa commitments

made by many arts institutions who acknowledged their participation in one of the techniques of North American racism: 

 

the contrived, life-impoverishing under-representation of minorities

in every North American institution (the army, some sports, and popular music being the exception for Black Americans. Also prisons. Black Americans are incarcerated out of all proportion).

 

The commitment of these institutions is to widen their representation and ownership of artistic work by minorities.

 

This was spurred by soul-searching following the murder of George Floyd by a policeman on May 25, 2020 on a Minneapolis street.

 

 

 

Walls of Identity, Walls of Pride, Philadelphia, 2007

 

 

Heartening I find this return to figuration because it takes courage to work vineyards so venerable.

 

Heartening also for the ever-struggles of minorities to be recognized in their full humanity and in the exercise of their full citizenship.

 

 

 

Njideka Akunyili Crosby 04 Bomb 137

I Refuse to Be Invisible, 2011, acrylic, charcoal, and xerox transfer on paper.

Njideka Akynyili Crosby, American born Nigeria 1983. Photo from the net

 

 

 

 

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Walls of Identity, Walls of Pride,

Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, 2007, 2nd and Thompson Streets.  Creative director: Shari Hersh.

One of approximately 3000 public murals in Philadelphia created by the program established by Jane Golden in 1986 as part of the Anti-Graffiti network.

 

Somos. We are.

 

 

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Artists born after 1969

 

 

 

40 Acres of Mules, 2015, charcoal on three sheets of paper. 

Kara Walker, American born 1969.  MOMA, NY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negress, 2017, plaster.  Kara Walker, American born 1969.

On exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2022

 

This impression of a face was taken directly from a reproduction of Why Born Enslaved!’, a sculpture carved in marble in 1873 by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux,1827-1875, French.

The Museum notes what the artist has said about the relationship of her work to history:

“I’m not making work about reality; I’m making work about images. I’m making work about fictions that have been handed down to me.”

 

 

Why Born Enslaved!, modeled 1868, carved 1873, marble. 

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux,1827-1875, French. Metropolitan Museum of Artist, NY

 

 

 

 

Game Changing (Ace), 2015, screenprint, gold leaf.

Derrick Adams, American born 1970.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

 

 

 

Time Beings2021,  Ink, mylar, glitter and pigment stick on canvas.

  M. Florine Démosthène, American-Haitian born 1971. Mariane Ibrahim website

 

 

 

 

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Din, une très belle négresse #1 (Din, a very beautiful black woman #1), 2012; rhinestones, acrylic, oil and enamel on wood panel, and detail.

Mickalene Thomas, American born 1971.

Loaned by the Jimenez-Colon Collection, Ponce, Puerto Rico to the Wallach Gallery, Columbia University, NY in 2018/19

 

 

 

 

The Moon and the Little Bird, 2018, acylic, charcoal, gelatin printing, collagraph printing, relief printing, decorative papers, hand-stitching, liquid gold leaf on paper.

Delita Martin, American born 1972. 2020 photo from the website of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC

 

 

 

 

girl, 2021, lithograph and screenpoint in 4 colours with hand-applied gold pigment on Arches Cover white paper. 

Wangechi Mutu, American born Kenya in 1972.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

 

 

 

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be (Self-imagined atlas), 2018.

 Amy Sherald, American born 1973.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

 

 

 

The Ascendants VIII, oil on canvas, 2019. 

Wangari Mathenge, Kenyan born 1973, active US.  I don’t know the current location of the painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Other Side of Everything, 2021, acylic on canvas.

Calida Rawles, American born 1976. Photo from the artist’s website.

 

 

 

Calida Rawles, A Promise, 2020, acrylic on canvas.

Calida Rawles, American born 1976. Photo from the artist’s website.

 

 

 

Jerome, oil on canvas, 2014. 

Titus Kaphar, American born 1976.  Williams College Museum of Art from whose website this photo.

 

This painting is based on a mugshot the artist discovered while searching for his estranged father’s prison records.  He then found 97 mugshots of men with his father’s name and went on to make devotional sized images on gilded panels of some of these men.

 

 

 

 Jerome IV, 2014, oil, gold leaf, and tar on wood panel

Titus Kaphar, American born 1976.  The Studio Museum in Harlem. Photo from the web

 

 

 

 

Declaration, a mural at 150 North Broad Street, Philadelphia.  Photo by Steve Welnik on the site of the Philadelphia Mural Arts program established by Jane Golden in 1986 as part of the Anti-Graffiti network.

 

Statement from the program on this work:

‘Declaration was conceived by Dwayne Reginald Betts (poet and legal scholar) and Titus Kaphar (artist) as part of Philadelphia’s Reimagining Re-Entry Fellowship.

The artists worked with members of Mural Arts’ Guild Program, a re-entry program for men and women returning from prison, as well as men from MAP’s mural program at SCI Phoenix.’

 

 

 

 

 

 All the Lost Awards, All That Was Lost, 2021, oil paint, pain stick, oil pastel, soft pastel, gouache, black charcoal on linen canvas stretched over wood panel.

 Nathaniel Mary Quinn, American born 1977. Photo by Rob McKeeve. ?Location

 

The artist says:  Each of us is a cacophony of experience. Not just a seamless self.

 

 

 

No Wedding, No Cake, No Prom, No Date, 2020, oil stick, oil pastel, and gouach on linen canvas over wood panel.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn, American born 1970.  Photo  by Rob McKeever for Gagosian. ?Location

 

 

 

 

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Laure (Portrait of a Negress), 2018, oil on canvas, and detail.

  Elizabeth Colomba, French born 1976, active in the United States.

Courtesy of the artist on loan to the Wallach Gallery, Columbia University, NY in 2018/9.

 

Laure, in a painting after a painting of Gustave Caillebotte’s Rainy Day, 1877, is walking to Manet’s studio.  She is stylishly dressed and quite in charge of her own life. 

 

 

 

Barack Hussein Obama, oil on canvas, 2018. 

Kehinde Wiley, American born 1977.  Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

 

 

 

 

The Broken Five, ceramic, mirrored glass, spray paint, wood, brass, oil stick, black soap and wax, 2019. 

Rashid Johnson, American born 1977.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

 

Issa Saturday, 2019, acrylic and spray paint on canvas.

Nina Chanel Abney, American  born 1982.  ?Location. Photo from the net.

 

 

 

 

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 Urns, 2017, porcelain, china paint, luster. 

Roberto Lugo, American born 1981. Loaned by the artist and his gallery to the Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia in 2018

 

 

 

Self-portrait as Street, 2019, earthenware, concrete, resin, found objects, base, chains, gun parts. 

Robert Lugo, American born 1981. On exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2021

 

 

 

 

The Last Barbeque, 2008. ?media

Private collection. Noah Davis, 1983-2015, American. 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra, 2015, oil on canvas. 

Jennifer Packer, American born 1984.  ?Current location.

 

 

 

 

G Note, 2021, acrylic oil stick on canvas. 

Jerrell Gibbs, American born 1984. Photo from the Mariane Ibrahim Gallery website

 

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Toyin Ojih Odutola, American born Nigeria, 1985

A Countervailing Theory:

6 images of 40 created for a story in which the artist, as archaologist, describes the workings of a prehistoric society in which women are the warrior rulers and their servants are male labourers.

Commissioned by the Barbican, London, these images are on display at the Hirshhorn, Washington, DC until late April, 2022.

 

 

 

The Ruling Class (Eshu), 2019, charcoal, pastel and chalk on linen over Dibond panel.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, American born Nigeria 1985.  Private collection loan to the Hirshhorn, Washington DC in 2021/22.

Photo from the website of the Jack Shaniman Gallery

 

 

 

“To See and To Know; Future Lovers,” from Toyin Ojih Odutola’s exhibition “A Countervailing Theory” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

To See and To Know; Future Lovers, 2019, charcoal, pastel and chalk on board. 

Toyin Ojih Odutola, American born Nigeria 1985.  Private collection loan to the Hirshhorn, Washington DC in 2021/22.

Photo from the website of the Jack Shaniman Gallery

 

 

A parting gift; Hers and Hers Only, 2019, charcoal, pastel and chalk on board. 

Toyin Ojih Odutola, American born Nigeria 1985.  Private collection loan to the Hirshhorn, Washington DC in 2021/22.

Photo from the website of the Jack Shaniman Gallery

 

 

 

Semblance of Certainty, 2019, charcoal and pastel on board.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, American born Nigeria 1985.  Private collection loan to the Hirshhorn, Washington DC in 2021/22.

Photo from the website of the Jack Shaniman Gallery

 

 

Photo from the website of the Jack Shaniman Gallery

Introductions: Early Embodiment (Koba), 2019, charcoal, pastel, and chalk on linen over Dibond panel.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, American born Nigeria 1985.  On exhibit at the Hirshhorn, Washington, DC in 2021/22.

 

 

 

Photo from the website of the Barbican, London

Mating Ritual, 2019, charcoal, pastel, and charlk on board.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, American born Nigeria 1985.  Private collection loan to the Hirshhorn, Washington DC in 202122. 

 

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Self-Portrait, oil on canvas, ?2018

Arcmanoro Niles, American born 1989. On display in 2018 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

Oil on canvas, 2008. 

Abdi Farah, American born 1987.  ?Location.

 

 

 

Sandwich on Sourdough, 2018, acrylic on canvas. 

Alex Gardner, American born 1987.  Photo from the website of the Long Beach Museum of Art where a solo exhibition is going on until May 2022

 

 

 

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Morning Ritual, 2016, mixed media on canvas.

Mickayel Thurin, American, born 1987. On display at the Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia in 2017

 

 

 

 

Yvonne and James, 2017, oil on canvas. 

Jordan Casteel, American born 1989.  Private collection on loan to the New Museum, NY in 2020.

 

 

 

A Lift, oil on canvas, 2018.

Tajh Rust, American born 1989. Photo from the website of Stems Gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Smells Like Us; spray paint, acrylic oil pastel, chalk pastel, plastic glitter, and marker on muslin; 2020.

Jonathan Lyndon Chase, American born 1989.  On exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2021/22.

 

 

 

Study of Entanglements, 2019, Kozo paper, ink, china marker, aerosol paint. 

Kenturah Davis, American born 1989. Photo from the website of Cornell Museum of Fine Art at Rollins College.

 

 

 

 

The Abduction of Ganymede, 2019; oil, color pencil, dye, sequins, collage, glitter, and jewelry on canvas

Devon Shimoyama, American born 1989. ?Location.

 

 

 

Pant, 2018, oil, Flashe (vinyl emulsion paint), acrylic paint, fabric, paper and exposed thread on canvas. 

Tschabalala Self, American born 1990. Loaned by the Philadelphia Art Museum to the Baltimore Art Museum in 2021

 

 

 

 

Tied to the System, Lynched by the Institution, 2020, mixed media

Eustace Francis Mamba, American born 1992, BFA program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

Te Llevo (I carry you), oil on canvas

Esai Alfredo Figueroa Ruiz, Bachelor of Fine Art program in 2020 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.  No other information

 

 

 

 

The Birth Partner, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 2020. 

Jordan Seaberry, American born 1990. Photo from the artist’s website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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